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Improved systems for worker exposure surveillance.

NIOSH 1997 Dec; :1-59
In response to heightened worker awareness and concern regarding possible associations between occupational exposures and disease, it is becoming increasingly important to provide adequate worker exposure surveillance and to store and maintain results generated from such surveillance so that the results are available for review and analysis. Two practical and cost- effective informational tools were developed and tested at the Department of Energy Y-2 Plant to complement existing worker exposure assessment programs, thus providing improved surveillance for a greater percentage of the worker population. The Potential Exposure Profile System (PEPS) is a software tool for classifying workers based on substances with which they commonly work rather on descriptive information, such as job title, which may be uninformative or even misleading. Each occupation or individual in the PEPS database is linked to an exposure profile based on potential for exposure to a list of physical, chemical, or radiological hazards. The Worker Exposure Surveillance System (WESS) generates a chronological record of employees by task location using bar code technology. The WESS system integrates worker specific data with work area and potential exposure data for each work area in order to monitor workers for potential exposures at each location. The worker participates in the surveillance for potential exposures by scanning an identification badge when entering and leaving a monitored location. Since the system is based on bar code technology, it is both a practical and cost-effective method of increasing the degree of worker surveillance, especially for workers commonly not monitored by traditional methods. Both the PEPS and WESS systems are fully developed and functional model systems including documentation of rationale, descriptions of necessary hardware, instructions for system use, software for managing and manipulating computerized information, example databases, and documentation of system performance. As a companion to the development of the PEPS and WESS systems, exposure monitoring programs and databases at the Y-12 Plant were evaluated and described in a format document. This document includes all currently implemented programs at Y-12 that generate data useful for assessment of worker exposure, including an analysis of each program's intended purpose(s) and actual utility. The resulting products of this research are believed to enable significantly improved surveillance of industrial populations for potential exposures. Their use should increase the precision of selecting workers for special exposure specific health monitoring programs and help to facilitate the integration of exposure-related information within and among facilities.
Monitoring-systems; Exposure-levels; Surveillance-programs; Data-collection; Workplace-monitoring
Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831
Publication Date
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Final Grant Report
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oak Ridge Associated Universities