Issue Date: January 22, 2018
Better occupational health surveillance system needed in U.S., National Academies report says
The U.S. should invest in a more robust occupational health and safety surveillance system to help understand and prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, a new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine report says. The current system, which is fragmented among several federal agencies and states, undercounts workplace illnesses and injuries and their costs. Among the recommendations, the report suggests improved monitoring of hazards and exposures in the workplace that can lead to acute and chronic diseases. Currently, federal and state agencies collect little data about chemical and other workplace exposures, which makes risks hard to identify and prevent. The report also recommends a household survey that would fill in data gaps about injuries to self-employed, contract, and small-farm workers. “We are experiencing rapid changes in the nature of work, and with new risks developing, the nation is in dire need of a smarter surveillance system that tracks occupational injuries, illnesses, and exposures,” says study chair Edward Shortliffe of Arizona State University.
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