Occupational Health Surveillance Unit

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New Jersey Occupational Health Indicators: 2000-2010

Highlights: 2000 - 2010

  • There were over 4,000 work-related hospitalizations per year.
  • A total of 1,184 workers died from fatal injuries.
  • A total of 768 hospitalizations were due to work-related burns.
  • 91% of pneumoconiosis hospitalizations were due to exposure to asbestos and asbestosis was the leading cause of mortality from or with pneumoconiosis (92%).
  • New Jersey annual incident rates of malignant mesothelioma (13.0-21.8 cases per million residents) were higher than US rates (12.5-14.0 cases per million residents).
  • Annual total workers’ compensation benefits paid exceeded one billion dollars. The average workers’ compensation award paid per worker was $420.

Introduction

Successful approaches to making our New Jersey workplaces healthier and safer begin by collecting the information necessary to understand the problem. Occupational Health Indicators (OHIs) provide a snapshot of the health of New Jersey workers and can be used by public health officials to track work-related adverse health effects and their causes.

The New Jersey OHI data are formatted and calculated based on the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guide “Occupational Health Indicators: A Guide for Tracking Occupational Health Conditions and their Determinants.” New Jersey is a member of the NIOSH-States Occupational Health Surveillance Work Group. To date, the Work Group has defined a standard set of 21 OHIs that can be used to identify occupational injuries, illnesses, and factors in each state. Indicators for participating states are featured on the CSTE Web site.

NOTE TO USERS: Except where otherwise noted, the New Jersey data presented on this Web page are for the period 2000-2010 including corresponding U.S. figures and will be updated annually. Following the state employment profile is a set of 19 occupational health indicators for New Jersey. Each indicator contains a brief background followed by tables and graphs based on most recent available information, with the exception of two indicators under development. Please contact the Occupational Health Surveillance Unit if you have any questions.

  Image:  NJOHI - Bar & Pie Chart
Occupational Health Indicators

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New Jersey Workforce Characteristics

Employment Profile

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Demographics (gender, age, race/ethnicity) [pdf 229k]
  2. Employment status (part-time, self-employed, and so on) [pdf 230k]
  3. By major industry sector [pdf 207k]
  4. By major occupation group [pdf 205k]

Percentage of Workers Employed in Industries at High Risk for Occupational Morbidity

Injuries and illnesses that are work-related can be prevented and the most effective way to prevent injuries and illness is to control the occupational hazards. To help prioritize limited resources it is vital to concentrate on high risk industries for non-fatal injuries and illnesses. From 2000-2010, over a million workers were employed in industries at high risk for occupational morbidity in New Jersey. In 2000, there were 132,690 workers employed in industries with a high risk for occupational morbidity, which is 3% of the New Jersey workforce. Whereas, in 2010, there were 224,162 (7%) workers employed in industries with a high risk for occupational morbidity.

Data were obtained from the US Census Bureau County Business Patterns and based on employed persons aged 16 years and older, in private sector industries at high risk for occupational morbidity for the same calendar year.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and percentage of employed persons in industries at high risk for occupational morbidity [pdf 214k]

Percentage of Workers Employed in Occupations at High Risk for Occupational Morbidity

Injuries and illnesses that are work-related can be prevented and the most effective way to prevent injuries and illness is to control the occupational hazards. To help prioritize limited resources it is vital to concentrate on high-risk occupations for non-fatal injuries and illnesses. In New Jersey, the number of workers employed in occupations at high risk for occupational morbidity has increased from 197,938 in 2000 to 489,035 in 2010. The percentage of workers in New Jersey from 2000-2010 ranged from 4.9-10.1 in comparison to the US which ranged from 6.3-16.1.

Data were obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey and are based on employed persons aged 16 years and older, in private sector occupations at high risk for occupational morbidity for the same calendar year.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and percentage of employed persons in occupations at high risk for occupational morbidity [pdf 206k]

Percentage of Workers Employed in Industries and Occupations at High Risk for Occupational Mortality

Image:  NJOHI High Risk MortalityOccupational injuries are largely preventable, and ongoing surveillance of occupational fatalities can help public health and other governmental agencies track and prevent future work-related injuries. A fatal injury is considered work-related if the event leading to the injury occurred while the employee was working, either on or off the employer’s premises. The percentage of workers employed in industries and occupations at high risk for occupational mortality has increased from 2000-2010 for both New Jersey and the US.

In 2010, there were over 400,000 workers employed in occupations at high risk for occupational mortality in New Jersey, which is 12% of the employed population, and over 300,000 employed in industries at high risk for occupational mortality in New Jersey, which is 9% of the employed population.

Data were obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey and based on employed persons aged 16 years and older, in private industry for the same calendar year.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and percentage of workers employed in industries at high risk for mortality [pdf 207k]
  2. Number and percentage of workers employed in occupations at high risk for mortality [pdf 211k]

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Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

Nonfatal Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Reported by Employers

Image: NJOHI Nonfatal Work-Related Reported by EmployersEven though work-related injuries and illnesses are preventable, thousands of workers are injured every day in the US. In New Jersey, there has been over a million nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses reported by private sector employers from 2000-2010. New Jersey annual incidence rates decreased from 4,900 in 2000 to 3,200 in 2010. In addition, there were over 150,000 estimated cases involving more than 10 days away from work. Nonfatal work-related injuries occurred more frequently in service-providing industries and transportation and material moving occupations. The back and finger were the parts of the body that were most affected and sprains and strains were the most common nature of injury or illness.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts annually a Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) to establish an estimate of occupational injuries and illnesses in participating states. The Survey includes employed persons in New Jersey who are 16 years or older for the same calendar year but exclude out-of-state residents. The Survey also excludes the military, self-employed individuals, farms with fewer than 11 employees, and Federal agencies. The Survey does have its limitations and underestimates and there is evidence of underreporting of injuries by employers.

N.B. -- Difference in industry concentration and sample size prohibit state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses [pdf 215k]
  2. Incidence rate for cases involving days away from work [pdf 189k]
  3. Distribution of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by selected characteristics and Hispanic ethnicity, 2010 [pdf 220k]

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Image: NJOHI Musculoskeletal DisordersMusculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are some of the most common and preventable work-related injuries. MSDs are injuries or disorders of the muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, or spinal discs that are caused by or aggravated by work activities. Of the 118,478 cases of MSDs reported in New Jersey from 2000-2010, 48% were MSDs of the back; 26% were MSDs of the neck, shoulders, and upper extremities; and 2% were carpel tunnel syndrome.

Data for this indicator are collected through the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII).

N.B. -- Difference in industry concentration and sample size prohibit state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of all musculoskeletal disorders (MSDS) involving days away from work [pdf 208k]
  2. Number and incidence rate of carpel tunnel syndrome cases involving days away from work [pdf 206k]
  3. Number and incidence rate of MSDS of the back involving days away from work [pdf 208k]
  4. Number and incidence rate of MSDS of the neck, shoulder, and upper extremities involving days away from work [pdf 210k]

Work-Related Amputations With Days Away from Work Reported by Private Sector Employers

An amputation has been described as a full or partial loss of a protruding body part – arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, toe, ear, or nose. Besides affecting an individual’s overall quality of life, an individual’s job skills and prospective earnings can be significantly decreased. In New Jersey, the rate of work-related amputations was 4.0 amputations per 100,000 full-time employees in 2010.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) samples private sector employers nationwide to provide a yearly state and national estimate on work-related amputations that involve at least one day away from work. The data collected below include employed persons in New Jersey age 16 years or older in the same calendar year. The data exclude individuals with injuries that required an amputation at a later date.

N.B. -- Difference in industry concentration and sample size prohibit state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of work-related amputations involving days away from work [pdf 206k]

Fatal Work-Related Injuries

Image: NJOHI Fatal Work-Related InjuriesSince 2000, over 4,000 workers have been fatally injured each year in the U.S. In New Jersey, there have been 1,184 fatal occupational injuries from 2000-2010. New Jersey annual rates from 2000-2010 ranged from 2.1-3.2 fatalities per 100,000 employed persons which is lower than the US rate which ranges from 3.8-4.4 fatalities per 100,000 employed persons.

A fatal injury is considered work-related if the event leading to the injury occurred while the employee was working either on or off the employer’s premises. This includes private and government employees; self-employed persons; certain volunteers such as firefighters and law enforcement; and individuals traveling as a condition of employment (not commuting to and from work). Data are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) which counts and describes all fatal work-related injuries in the US. Data include individuals who are 16 years or older for the same calendar year.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of work-related fatal injuries [pdf 219k]

Asthma Among Adults Caused or Made Worse by Work (indicator under development)

Work-related asthma (WRA) is a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. According to the CDC, asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that affects more than 18 million adults in the US. More than 300 substances used in the workplace are known to either cause asthma in healthy workers or aggravate asthma in those who already have the condition. WRA can be prevented. New Jersey law requires physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses to report WRA cases for the appropriate public health follow-up.

Incidence of Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but highly fatal cancer of the thin membranes surrounding the chest cavity (pleura) or abdominal cavity (peritoneum). According to the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, about 3,000 deaths occur each year in the US due to malignant mesothelioma. From 2000-2010, New Jersey annual rates (13.0-21.8 cases/million residents) were higher than US rates (12.5-14.0 cases/million residents). Exposure to asbestos fibers is a well-established risk factor for mesothelioma. There were over 17,000 hospitalizations due to asbestosis from 2000-2010 with New Jersey annual rates exceeding US rates.

Data were obtained from the New Jersey State Cancer Registry for the employed New Jersey population 15 years and older for the same calendar year. Due to the long latency of the disease, current incidence may not be indicative of current exposure.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and age-standardized rate of incidence mesothelioma cases [pdf 208k]

Mortality from or with Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis is a class of non-malignant lung diseases which are usually incurable and may lead to death. Pneumoconiosis includes silicosis, asbestosis, coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, and other and unspecified pneumoconiosis. In New Jersey, asbestosis resulted in the greatest number of deaths, over 700 from 2000-2010. Silicosis, coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, and other and unspecified pneumoconiosis had less than five cases and therefore rates could not be accurately calculated.

Death certificates were obtained from the NJDOH Center for Health Statistics for individuals 15 years or older with ICD-10 code of J60 – J66.8 as the underlying or contributing cause of death for the same calendar year.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and age-standardized rate of asbestosis deaths [pdf 205k]

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Work-Related Hospitalizations

All Work-Related Hospitalizations

Image: NJOHI Work-Related HospitalizationsIndividuals hospitalized with work-related injuries and illnesses have some of the most serious and costly work-related health outcomes. In New Jersey alone there have been over 50,000 work-related hospitalizations from 2000-2010. In 2010, there were 4,249 work-related hospitalizations in New Jersey. Of these 3,147 (74%) were male and the average age was 46. Over 3,000 (73%) were White; 498 (12%) were Black; and over 700 (22%) were of Hispanic origin.

Data for work-related hospitalizations were pulled from the New Jersey inpatient hospital discharge data and were based on workers’ compensation as primary payer and individuals who are 16 years or older for the same calendar year. Individuals who were out-of-state residents or hospitalized in out-of-state hospitals were excluded.  Due to other payer sources or individuals not filing for workers’ compensation, work-related hospitalizations may be underrepresented.

N.B. -- Workers’ compensation eligibility criteria and availability of data from workers’ compensation programs varies among states, prohibiting state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of work-related hospitalizations [pdf 264k]
  2. Demographics (2010): > age/gender [pdf 186k]  > race/ethnicity [pdf 183k]

Hospitalizations for Work-Related Burns

Burns can be the most expensive work-related injuries to treat, result in large amounts of lost work time, and can be extremely painful. In New Jersey, there have been over 700 work-related burn hospitalizations from 2000-2010.

In 2010, there were a total of 40 work-related hospitalizations due to burns. Of these cases 36 (90%) were male and the average age was 40. Thirty-four (85%) were White; 3 (8%) were Black; and 11 (28%) were of Hispanic origin. Thirty-five percent of the burns were to the wrist(s) and hand(s); followed by lower limb(s) (25%); and face, head, and neck (23%).

Data for work-related hospitalizations (ICD-9: 940-949) were pulled from New Jersey inpatient hospital discharge data and were based on workers’ compensation as primary payer and individuals who are 16 years or older for the same calendar year. Individuals who were out-of-state residents or out-of-state hospitalizations were excluded.

N.B. -- Workers’ compensation eligibility criteria and availability of data from workers’ compensation programs varies among states, prohibiting state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of hospitalizations for work-related burns [pdf 260k]
  2. Demographics (2010): > age/gender [pdf 185k] > race/ethnicity [pdf 172k]
  3. Location of burn, 2010 [pdf 197k]

Hospitalizations from or with Pneumoconiosis

Image: NJOHI PneumoconiosisMost cases of pneumoconiosis are diagnosed in older individuals, are often incurable and may result in death. There have been over 19,000 cases of pneumoconiosis in New Jersey from 2000-2010. Of these cases over 91% were asbestosis. The annual rate of asbestosis from 2000-2010 in New Jersey (191-277 hospitalizations per million residents) is higher than the US (60-103 hospitalizations per million residents). Rates of asbestosis in New Jersey may be higher because the production of asbestos products and use of asbestos, especially in New Jersey’s many shipyards were extensive in the state. Several New Jersey studies have documented excess lung cancer among New Jersey workers in industries with asbestos exposure, including New Jersey’s most well-known asbestos products manufacturer, the Manville Corporation in Somerset County. The NJDOH has estimated that as many as 500,000 New Jersey workers may have been exposed since 1940.

In 2010, there were 1,518 hospitalizations due to pneumoconiosis. The mean age was 79 and 1,381 (91%) were male. Of these cases 1,402 (92%) were White; 90 (6%) were Black; and 23 (2%) were of Hispanic origin.

Data for work-related pneumoconiosis hospitalizations (ICD-9: 940-949) were pulled from New Jersey inpatient hospital discharge data and were based on workers’ compensation as primary payer and individuals who are 15 years or older for the same calendar year.

N.B. -- Workers’ compensation eligibility criteria and availability of data from workers’ compensation programs varies among states, prohibiting state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and age-standardized rate of total pneumoconiosis hospitalizations [pdf 261k]
  2. Demographics (2010): > age/gender [pdf 180k] > race/ethnicity [pdf 178k]
  3. Number and age-standardized rate of asbestosis hospitalizations [pdf 263k]
  4. Number and age-standardized rate of silicosis hospitalizations [pdf 260k]
  5. Number and age-standardized rate of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis hospitalizations [pdf 313k]
  6. Number and age-standardized rate of other and unspecified pneumoconiosis hospitalizations [pdf 269k]

Hospitalizations for Work-Related Lower Back Disorders (indicator under development)

Hospitalizations for work-related low back disorders have serious and costly effects including: high direct medical costs, significant functional impairment and disability, high absenteeism, reduced work performance, and lost productivity. Well-recognized prevention efforts can be implemented for high-risk job activities and reduce the burden of work-related low back disorders.

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Toxic Exposures

Acute Work-Related Pesticide Poisonings Reported to Poison Control Centers

Image: NJOHI - Toxic ExposuresPesticides are among the few chemicals produced that are specifically designed to kill and cause harm. Workers (agricultural and pesticide applicators) who handle pesticides are at greatest risk for pesticide poisoning. The EPA estimates that there are 20,000 to 40,000 work-related pesticide poisonings per year. In New Jersey, there were over 29 cases of pesticide-associated illnesses reported per year from 2000-2010. New Jersey annual rates from 2000-2010 were below the US rates. New Jersey ranged from 0.8-1.3 pesticide poisonings per 100,000 employed persons in comparison to US rates of 1.5-2.1 pesticide poisonings per 100,000 employed persons.

Data for work-related pesticide-associated illness and injury were obtained from the New Jersey Poison Control Center. Data were also pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey and were based on employed persons 16 years and older for the same calendar year.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and incidence rate of reported work-related pesticide poisonings reported to Poison Control Centers [pdf 76k]

Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Adults

Lead poisoning usually occurs as a result of occupational exposure and can affect multiple organ systems and lead to permanent damage. Anemia, nervous system dysfunction, and kidney damage may result from lead exposure. Workers can be exposed to lead through inhalation of fumes and dusts and through ingestion due to lead contaminated hands, food, clothing, etc. In adults, a blood lead level (BLL) ≥ 25 micrograms per deciliters (µg/dL) is considered “elevated.”

In New Jersey, there has been a trend towards decreasing blood lead levels in adults over time. However, this should be interpreted cautiously for a variety of reasons including the closing of a large lead acid battery manufacturing facility and an overall decrease in manufacturing in New Jersey. Despite these overall trends, the NJDOH still routinely finds elevated blood lead values ≥ 25µg/dL in workers employed in certain industries. Employers are required to offer annual medical exams to workers who have BLLs ≥ 40 µg/dL.

Adult blood lead data were pulled from the New Jersey Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology Surveillance (ABLES) program registry. ABLES collects and analyzes occupational information on adults in blood and/or urine to identify occupations and industries most in need for intervention. All reported New Jersey state residents 16 years or older in the same calendar year with BLLs ≥ 25µg/dL are included.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and incidence rate of adults reported with BLLs ≥ 25µg/dl [pdf 258k]
  2. Number and prevalence rate of adults reported with BLLs ≥ 25µg/dl [pdf 256k]
  3. Number and incidence rate of adults reported with BLLs ≥ 40µg/dl [pdf 256k]
  4. Number and prevalence rate of adults reported with BLLs ≥ 40µg/dl [pdf 254k]

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Occupational Health and Safety Professionals

Work-related injuries and illnesses are preventable. Therefore it is important to assess the availability of trained occupational health professionals that can identify the hazard and implement preventative services in the workplace.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Number and rate of board-certified occupational medicine physicians [pdf 204k]
  2. Number and rate of members of ACEOM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) [pdf 205k]
  3. Number and rate of board-certified occupational health nurses [pdf 207k]
  4. Number and rate of members of AAOHN (American Association of Occupational Health Nurses) [pdf 261k]
  5. Number and rate of board-certified industrial hygienists [pdf 206k]
  6. Number and rate of members of AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) [pdf 204k]
  7. Number and rate of board-certified safety health professionals [pdf 76k]
  8. Number and rate of members of ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) [pdf 206k]

OSHA Enforcement Activities

In 1970, Congress established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s mission is to "assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions." This mandate involves the application of a set of tools by OSHA (e.g., standards development, enforcement, compliance assistance). OSHA conducts both referral and non-referral inspections on worksites. Worksites are selected into an emphasis program for non-referred inspections, randomly and on the basis of industry incidence rates of injuries. Investigations are inspections that are triggered by three events: fatality, catastrophe, or referral (including outside health/safety agency or media). All of the above on-site activities are called inspections for the statistical databases. The measures of frequency for this indicator may approximate the added health and safety benefits and protections felt by workers as a result of their worksites being inspected.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Percentage of establishments under OSHA jurisdiction inspected by OSHA [pdf 212k]
  2. Percentage of workers in establishments under OSHA jurisdiction whose work areas were inspected by OSHA [pdf 214k]

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Workers’ Compensation Awards

Image: NJOHI CompensationWorkers’ compensation awards are reviewed to establish whether the reported medical condition is work-related. Accepted awards represent known work-related injuries and illnesses, and often more severe cases. The total and average amounts of benefits paid estimate the burden of these events, which can help justify prevention programs and activities.

In 2010, a total of $1,999,801,000 was awarded to injured New Jersey workers, which is an average of $543 per injured worker.

N.B. -- Workers’ compensation eligibility criteria and availability of data from workers’ compensation programs varies among states, prohibiting state-level data from being directly compared to other states or with national estimates.

TABLES AND GRAPHS

  1. Average workers’ compensation benefit per covered worker [pdf 236k]

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