Identifying Clusters of Occupational Injury and Illness at the Community Level for Targeted Interventions
Occupational health surveillance projects are essential in providing information about the trends and health outcomes at both the state and national levels. In this study, data linkages on multiple datasets by zip code were performed to identify geographical clusters of work-related amputations, asbestosis, and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) that target communities for possible interventions with high counts and rates for these health outcomes in Illinois between the years of 2000 and 2010. The Illinois hospital discharge dataset was used to conduct this study. A combined inpatient and outpatient data in 2010 determined 1,665 cases of occupational amputations, while a total of 3,172 asbestosis cases and 1,598 CWP cases were identified solely by inpatient data between the years of 2000 and 2010. Our evaluation of health predictors included employment data, demographic data, and population-size measures. High-risk communities were determined by looking at the upper quintile of rates and counts of cases. For all three health outcomes, a 20/80 split, was determined to indicate that the top 20% of zip codes with the most cases represented 80% of all the cases (amputations 75.9%, asbestosis 77.3%, and CWP 85.7%) in the same category. However, elevated rates did not show the same results due to the population divide between major metropolitan areas and the smaller rural towns. Spatial analysis identified geographical clusters in Illinois with elevated rates and high counts that can result in further targeted interventions. Our findings showed that high counts of amputations were located in the Chicago metropolitan area. Our spatial analysis identified clusters of middle-sized communities with elevated rates. Asbestosis cases and spatial clusters were predominantly located in middle and smaller communities. High counts and rates of CWP were found near residential areas surrounding rural coal mining towns. Our research has found that identifying spatial clusters for these health outcomes provides the necessary steps to further our purpose of community advocacy to provide training, education, and research knowledge about the hazards of nationally recognized occupational health indicators and accessibility and cost of workers’ health resources.
Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis