Prevention of leading work-related diseases and injuries. Reprints: occupational lung diseases, musculoskeletal injuries, occupational cancers, severe occupational traumatic injuries, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, and neurotoxic disorders.
This reprint includes MMWR articles published between January 21, 1983 and September 6, 1985 covering the first seven diseases and injuries. The prevention of the ten leading occupational diseases and injuries in the US was reviewed. In 1982, NIOSH developed a list of the ten leading work related diseases and injuries in the US, based on disease frequency, severity, and suitability for prevention. The list was intended to encourage professionals to discuss issues related to occupational health, to help establish national priorities for the prevention of occupational diseases and injuries, and to express the concerns and focus of NIOSH to the nation. The ten leading work related diseases and injuries were occupational lung diseases, musculoskeletal injuries, occupational cancers, severe occupational traumatic injuries, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, neurotoxic disorders, noise induced hearing loss, dermatological conditions, and psychological disorders. Important occupational lung diseases included asbestosis, byssinosis, silicosis, coal workers' pneumoconiosis, lung cancer, and occupational asthma. Although these diseases were preventable through effective control measures, long latency periods and the influence of cigarette smoking made research problematic. Occupational musculoskeletal injuries associated with manual materials handling, repetitive motion, and vibration were preventable through automation, improved equipment and task design, worker education, and modified work practices. Occupational cancers were associated, albeit controversially, with a variety of industries and agents. Many occupational cancers were preventable by reducing or eliminating worker exposure to the suspected carcinogens. Severe occupational traumatic injuries, including traumatic deaths, amputations, fractures, eye loss, and lacerations, were prevented through engineering controls, modified work practices, personal protective equipment usage, and workplace monitoring. Cardiovascular diseases were associated with exposures to metals, dusts, and trace elements, occupational inhalants and other chemicals, noise, and psychosocial stress. In order to prevent the reproductive disorders resulting from maternal and paternal exposures in the workplace, further research was needed to identify and control hazardous exposures.