HETA report no. TA-77-67, Federal Aviation Administration, O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois.
Stress among air traffic controllers (SIC-4583) at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois was surveyed on July 26 and 27, 1977. The survey was requested by the Director of the Office of Federal Agency Safety Programs, OSHA on behalf of 137 controllers at O'Hare. Medical records of the controllers were reviewed. Of nine controllers disqualified for medical reasons, eight had a primary psychiatric diagnosis, six of which were anxiety neurosis. Gastrointestinal complaints were reported by six of these controllers; two had peptic ulcers. Among the controllers, medical histories revealed 19 percent with stomach trouble, 4.5 percent with hemorrhoids, 10 percent with headaches or nervousness, and 1.5 percent each with high blood pressure and angina. The work site was exceptionally busy with no apparent physical stressors such as excessive noise, poor lighting conditions, or uncomfortable temperatures. The claim by controllers that they are asked to cut corners to maintain airline schedules, could result in a particularly stressful working condition. The authors conclude that there are unresolved labor management issues, however no specific occupational health hazard exists.