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Worker-notification activities at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Past and present.
Baker-EL; Schulte-PA; French-JG
Ann NY Acad Sci 1989 Dec; 572(1):144-150
Worker notification has two components: informing presently employed workers of their current exposures and informing workers, both presently employed and no longer employed, of their past exposures and risk. The activities of NIOSH, both past and present, in the area of worker notification are reviewed. NIOSH has been extensively engaged in informing present workers of their current exposures and potential subsequent effects throughout its existence. Whenever NIOSH performs a medical test on workers, the results are sent to the individual and to the health care provider. NIOSH involvement in notifying workers of past exposures relates primarily to informing surviving cohort members of the findings of retrospective cohort studies conducted by NIOSH. Uncertainties relating to individual risk and the need for adequate follow up are described. Subsequent to 1977 NIOSH had embarked on various projects aimed at evaluating the problems of notification and identifying possible solutions. In 1979 NIOSH completed a small pilot study of individual worker notification of a selected group of 55 terminated workers whose medical records had been submitted. In 1980 a major pilot study was begun to evaluate the problem inherent in notifying individual workers of potential health risks and to identify criteria and develop a conceptual model for subsequent notification efforts. NIOSH then developed a decision logic outlining the criteria that could be used as a basis for worker notification. This decision logic was reviewed and renamed the Guidelines for Notification of Individual Workers and contained several recommendations. Challenges continue to present themselves, but the authors noted that the rewards for the health and safety of US workers will be proportionately great.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Author; Occupational-medicine; Risk-analysis; Worker-health; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health-programs; Medical-monitoring; Worker notification; Right to know
Issue of Publication
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division