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Surveillance and health screening in occupational health.
Public Health & Preventive Medicine. Fifteenth Edition, Wallace RB, Kohatsu N, Last JM, eds., New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007 Sep; :789-794
This chapter will discuss surveillance and health screening in occupational health and the common principles that guide program performance. Surveillance in occupational health, as in other public health endeavors, involves the systematic and ongoing collection, evaluation, interpretation, and reporting out of health-relevant information for purposes of prevention. Surveillance can help establish the extent of a problem, track trends, identify new problems or causes, help set priorities for preventive interventions, and provide the means to evaluate the adequacy of the interventions. Surveillance programs can focus on an enterprise, an industry, or on the general population. At the national level, surveillance data can be used to identify high-risk industries. One of the few sources of national data is collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the Department of Labor, which surveys a representative sample of private sector employers with more than 11 employees each year. The number of occupational illnesses and injuries is collected from each surveyed employer. This system is periodically revised to improve the classification of occupational diseases and to collect more information about the etiology of diseases and injuries. The most effective workplace surveillance systems have both health and hazard or exposure components. While hazard surveillance may be less common than health surveillance, it is vital. Hazard surveillance provides the opportunity to identify and intervene on hazardous exposures before an injury or disorder develops. Both health hazard surveillance efforts are often characterized by their speed and practicality. Indications of abnormality generally need confirmation or further validation.
Occupational-health; Health-programs; Medical-screening; Surveillance-programs; Health-hazards; Medical-examinations; Screening-methods; Screening-programs; Biological-monitoring; Legislation; Workplace-monitoring; Information-processing
Book or book chapter
Wallace-RB; Kohatsu-N; Last-JM
Public Health & Preventive Medicine
MD; NY; WV; MA
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division