Work-related injuries and illnesses are preventable, and control of occupational hazards is the most effective means of prevention. Research has shown that relationships exist between the demographic characteristics of workers and the risk of occupational illness or injury. Understanding the basic characteristics of the New Hampshire workforce is vital to assessing possible occupational health risks for New Hampshire’s workers.
The New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) builds on the State’s capacity for integrated collection of occupational injury and illness data and tests the ability to knowledgeably apply this data in a number of public health applications. This enhanced surveillance helps to identify occupational safety and health hazards particular to New Hampshire, assists in prioritizing the numerous hazards and issues needing to be addressed, and provides key targeting demographics in the design and execution of local interventions and programs.
In collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), the New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program will produce reports on 19 core occupational health indicators developed to provide information about a population’s health status with respect to workplace injuries and illnesses or to factors that can influence health. These indicators can either be measures of health (work-related disease or injury) or factors associated with health, such as workplace exposures, hazards or interventions. The indicators represent a core set of data that, when collected at the state level, would assist in the development of programs to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Data to produce New Hampshire indicators include:
- Employment demographics
- Non-fatal and fatal work-related injuries and illnesses
- Work-related hospitalizations
- Elevated blood lead levels among adults
- Acute work-related pesticide poisonings
- Carpal tunnel syndrome cases identified in state workers’ compensation systems
- Number of workers in occupations and industries with high risk for occupational mortality and morbidity.
It is the goal of the New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program to provide meaningful statistics to identify priority occupational safety and health conditions that could benefit from further prevention recommendations.