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-008484, 2009 Apr; :1-15
Not all of the tasks outlined in our original application were completed due to limitation of funds. This was primarily due to a salary increase of the epidemiologist/program manager. However, we were able to complete many tasks outlined in our application and progress was made in reaching the stated aims. Because workplace illness and injury include a wide variety of industries, occupations, tasks and issues, it is necessary for our program, in addition to tracking the occupational health indicators, to narrow the focus of our intervention activities to two main areas each grant period. These priority areas are determined by trends in indicator data, as well as NORA, NIOSH, CSTE and State priorities. During the period of this cooperative agreement, the Wisconsin Occupational Health Surveillance Program has focused on noise-induced hearing loss and respiratory issues such as work-related asthma. Wisconsin's approach to occupational health surveillance has been through partnerships and leveraging of others expertise. While staff within the Occupational Health Surveillance Program gather and compile data for the occupational health indicators we share these data with others so that they can develop and implement interventions. Some of the interventions developed by others based on our data, include, a web-based program to deliver work-related asthma knowledge to medical students and practitioners, information for asthma coalition newsletters, a study and publication of asthmagens in the dairy industry, and an educational program that includes audiograms, for carpenters and construction workers. Additionally, our program directly develops and delivers educational materials and information sessions. The occupational health indicators (OHI) have been collected and analyzed each year of this cooperative agreement. There continues to be an improvement in most measures. Since 2000, the first year of OHI data collection, the rate of non-fatal workplace injuries has declined from a rate of 2500/100,000 workers to 1400/100,000 workers (2007 data). The only area that is an exception to these improving trends is in the area of pneumoconiosis hospitalizations - while pneumoconiosis incidence has remained steady, hospitalizations have been increasing. This may be more a factor of the disease process and lack of medical treatment options rather than worsening workplace hazard. We will further explore this indicator in the future. Another area we will watch is the rate of adults with blood lead levels greater than 25ug/dL. After years of decline, 2007 data showed an increase at this level. This NIOSH cooperative agreement has also allowed our program to become more organized, acknowledged, and knowledgeable. Successes include easily accessible data and information, inquiries by state agencies and the public for data/information, and expanded partnerships and alliances. The Occupational Health Surveillance program has worked with the Asthma Coalition and the American Lung Association to convince Wisconsin voters that all businesses, including bars and restaurants should be smoke free - on July 10, 2010 a statewide smoking ban went into effect. We are currently working with these groups to develop anti-idling information and policy. We have continued the Occupational Illness and Injury Prevention Center (Prevention Center) a collaboration of academia, OSHA, state agencies and others and have attended National and State meetings and trainings to learn best practices and other helpful information. Information obtained from the above activities has been used mainly for the education of workers, employers, local health departments, physicians OSHA and others, in an effort to proactively reduce workplace illness and injury. The Occupational Health Surveillance Program has developed reports on the OHI's and work-related asthma which were distributed to local health departments and occupational health practitioners. We have developed a workplace safety calendar to be distributed to unions and local health departments in December of this year. We have also used respiratory and work-related asthma surveillance information to bolster the smoke-free message which helped pass anti-smoking legislation in Wisconsin.