Respiratory diseases in manufacturing must be addressed, researchers say
NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda Manufacturing Sector Council recently developed goals to guide research related to the reduction of respiratory diseases in this sector. With regard to respiratory diseases, researchers said the manufacturing sector had a high percentage of deaths compared to other industries.
Many respiratory diseases are almost exclusively caused by workplace exposures, including silicosis, asbestosis, byssinosis, and chronic beryllium disease. According to state-based surveillance data from 1990-99, employees in manufacturing represented a significant portion of deaths than other sectors for silicosis, asbestosis, byssinosis, all pneumoconioses, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. For example, manufacturing had 50 of the 81 deaths from byssinosis, 386 of the 881 deaths from silicosis, and 1,035 of the 2,859 deaths from asbestosis. In addition, researchers said some respiratory diseases, such as asthma, can be either caused or exacerbated by workplace exposures in manufacturing.
The NORA Manufacturing Sector Council is asking manufacturing employers to:
- Use existing data. Employers should use the results of surveillance and research studies to identify and track workplace hazards that have been linked to respiratory diseases.
- Educate employees. Manufacturing employees should share information on both known and suspected hazards for work-related respiratory diseases.
- Apply research-based knowledge. Employers should adopt intervention strategies that are effective in preventing work-related respiratory diseases.
- Partner with researchers. This partnership will assess the extent, severity and burden of work-related respiratory diseases and share best practice recommendations for reducing worker exposure.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 5, 2010
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