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Alaska's model program for surveillance and prevention of occupational injury deaths.

Conway GA; Lincoln JM; Husberg BJ; Manwaring JC; Klatt ML; Thomas TK
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :29
Background: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) established its Alaska field station in Anchorage, Alaska in 1991 after identifying Alaska as the highest-risk state for U.S. traumatic worker fatalities. Since then, we have established comprehensive occupational injury surveillance in Alaska, and formed and facilitated interagency working groups (of state and federal agencies) to address major factors leading to occupational death and injury in the state. Methods: Establishment of a surveillance system, obtaining information via data-sharing with jurisdictional agencies and from direct on-site investigation of incidents. Collaboration with state and regional government agencies, industry, workers, and non-governmental organizations to develop interventions. Translation of complex scientific manuscripts to "worker-friendly" texts for workplace dissemination. Results: Since 1991, Alaska has experienced a 50 percent overall decline in work-related deaths by 1999, including a substantial decline in commercial fishing deaths, and a very sharp decline in helicopter logging-related deaths. These efforts have lead to major national and international government-industry collaborative efforts in improving safety in helicopter lift operations, and a concomitant improvement in fishing industry mortality in workers fishing Alaskan seas. Conclusions: Using surveillance data as information for action, these collaborative efforts have contributed to reducing mortality in Alaska's high occupational fatality rate. This has been most clearly demonstrated in the rapidly expanding helicopter logging industry. The application of surveillance data has also played an important supportive role in the substantial progress made in reducing the mortality rate in Alaska's commercial fishing industry (historically Alaska's (and America's) most dangerous industry, and largest killer of Alaskan workers). Results suggest that extending such a regional approach to other parts of the country, and application of these strategies to the entire spectrum of occupational injury and disease hazards could have a broad impact toward reducing occupational injuries.
Accident rates; Accident statistics; Accidents; Accident prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Surveillance programs; Statistical analysis; Epidemiology; Fishing industry; Logging workers; Lumber industry; Lumber industry workers; Construction workers; Retail workers; Aircraft; Aircrews
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division