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New Mexico occupational health surveillance.

Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U60-OH-008486, 2009 Sep; :1-25
Importance of problem: New Mexico is home to several high hazard industries, including mining, oil and gas drilling, construction, and agriculture. New Mexico has a vast and sparsely populated terrain, and its rural nature often contributes to the severity of occupational injury outcomes. There is a confluence of cultures, languages, and governmental jurisdictions, (federal and state, and tribal) in New Mexico that contribute to the challenges of conducting surveillance and developing appropriate prevention strategies for it's workers. Approach: The New Mexico Occupational Health Surveillance Program (NMOHSP) was established to utilize existing data from State and Federal public health and labor agencies, public and private healthcare providers, and academic institutions in order to create a single repository for combining these data into valid, reliable and useful surveillance information. The NMOHSP participates in the collection of state-based occupational health indicators (OHIs). The OHIs provided guidance for New Mexico's initial surveillance focus and continue to inform the Program's agenda. Key findings: OHI #11,"Acute Work-Related Pesticide-Associated Illness and Injury Reported to Poison Control Centers" consistently reports New Mexico as having over twice the rate of pesticide calls as the U.S. as a whole. An analysis of call data for the years was conducted and revealed that the highest rate of calls in the state were from the highly agricultural, southwestern region. New Mexico initiated the use of state Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data for surveillance of work-related asthma (WRA). Analysis of the data indicated that New Mexico's WRA rates were similar to states funded to conduct WRA surveillance. However, State Workers' Compensation data for the same time period yielded very few, if any asthma cases. Guided by Indicator #3 "Occupational Injury Fatality", data were obtained from both the Census of Fatal Occupational Injury (CFOI) and state vital records. Transportation was the leading cause of work-related injury fatalities (51 %). Nine percent of worker deaths in New Mexico occurred among non-US citizens; of those, six percent were among Mexican Nationals. Variables obtained from death certificates, such as race and ethnicity, citizenship status, state. of residence, and county of occurrence, yielded important information that was not available, or only partially available, through CFOI. Application of surveillance: The pesticide surveillance study findings were shared with colleagues at the NM Poison and Drug information Center, the NM Department of Agriculture and with community health workers in farming communities in Southern New Mexico. The pesticide surveillance work led to a pilot project to survey farmworkers in the border region of New Mexico on their experiences, training, knowledge, and attitudes towards pesticide use on farms where they work. Findings from the BRFSS analysis have been used to bring awareness to workers and physicians about asthma induced or exacerbated in the workplace. The work has prompted the NMOHSP to collaborate with the New Mexico Asthma Program on occupational asthma surveillance and prevention. The occupational injury mortality study highlighted the need to focus on industries that occur in rural areas, such as mining, farming, and transportation. The study also pointed out the lack of injury prevention programs for non-citizen workers. As a result the NMOHSP has become involved in. the New Mexico Injury Prevention Coalition, a statewide coalition whose mission it is to prevent injury in New Mexico through community collaboration, capacity building and action.
Hazards; Sociological-factors; Demographic-characteristics; Oil-refineries; Injuries; Preventive-medicine; Workers; Worker-health; Work-environment; Pesticides; Agriculture; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-protection; Traumatic-injuries; Agriculture; Farmers; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-disorders; Bronchial-asthma; Pesticides; Transportation-industry; Transportation-workers; Surveillance-programs; Mining-industry
Denece 0. Kesler, MD, MPH, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, (UNM SOM), MSC 10 5550, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Cooperative Agreement Report
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque