The New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Occupational Health has participated in the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program since 2001. From September 2001 through August 2006,661 reports of traumatic occupational fatalities in New York State (NYS) excluding New York City have been received, 33 investigations have been conducted, and 30 reports have been completed. Because of the unique circumstances that may contribute to injuries and fatalities to the special populations of young, older and foreign-born workers, NY FACE has targeted fatalities within these groups for investigations. In addition, NY FACE has targeted fatalities occurring within agriculture and highway work zone settings, and machinery-related incidents - all high-risk areas in NYS. Besides focusing on conducting investigations, NY FACE sought to increase awareness of the program and likewise, raise awareness of preventable factors contributing to work-related fatalities. NY FACE has conducted extensive outreach to potential fatality reporters and has cut by two-thirds the average amount of time to receive an initial report of a work-related fatality. Also, a work-related fatalities web page was established featuring materials developed by NY FACE, work-related fatality surveillance information, and links to various safety and health organizations. Over 17,000 web hits have occurred to this site since the program started tracking hits to the web site in January 2003. Health and safety professionals are directed to the web page through an electronic listserve of 192 individuals whenever new information is posted. In addition, materials have been developed to address specific hazards or high-risk occupations including FACE Facts sheets that have been translated into Spanish. After conducting investigations of several incidents where pedestrians were struck by vehicles in various work environments, NY FACE developed a tailgate training module entitled "Preventing Deaths and Injuries to Public Workers while Working around Mobile Equipment" emphasizing the need for caution when working around mobile equipment. This module was pilot-tested and following favorable comments, 250 copies were printed. These were offered to all county and town public works and highway departments throughout NYS and posted on the web page along with a Power Point version. To date, 73 copies of the training have been requested. NY FACE has evaluated the program to identify successful activities and opportunities for improving the program. This evaluation identified that NY FACE has done an exceptional job with improving timeliness of case ascertainment, increasing number and type of reporting sources, and with developing partnerships throughout NYS. During this grant period, NY FACE also focused its attention on conducting site investigations and preparing materials, including FACE reports and FACE Facts sheets using the CDC/NIOSH model, for dissemination throughout the working and occupational health and safety communities. To evaluate the program's impact on employers and employees, NY FACE has re-contacted many of the companies where investigations have occurred and learned that the reports were useful and many of the recommendations made by NY FACE were incorporated into company policies and daily procedures.
Kitty Gelberg, Ph.D., MPH, New York State Department of Health/Health Research Inc., Center for Environmental Health, Bureau of Occupational Health, 547 River Street, Troy, NY 12180