OCCUPATIONAL disease surveillance is a critical step in the prevention of work-related injury and illness.1 Case reporting by health care providers to public health authorities is one way of identifying sources of exposure toward which control measures can be directed. Most health care providers are familiar with the existence of reporting requirements for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and the sexually transmitted diseases; however, less attention has been paid by the medical community to recognizing and reporting occupationally related conditions.2,3
The Department of Labor estimated that in 1978 approximately 1.9 million people were severely or partially disabled from occupationally related diseases, at an annual cost of $11.4 billion in lost wages alone.4 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an incidence of occupational injury and illness for 1984 of 8.0 cases and 63.4 lost workdays per 100 full-time workers.5 This is most likely an underestimate, especially for
Freund E, Seligman PJ, Chorba TL, Safford SK, Drachman JG, Hull HF. Mandatory Reporting of Occupational Diseases by Clinicians. JAMA. 1989;262(21):3041–3044. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430210083036
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