Keeping track of workplace injuries and illnesses is critical. By paying close attention to injury and illness trends, public health professionals identify ways to intervene and prevent further morbitity and mortality. The Mountain & Plains ERC worked closely with NIOSH's Western States Office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop an Occupational Health Indicator Report for Colorado. The Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists developed the Occupational Health Indicators as a way for state governments to take "snapshots" of worker health in their respective states. Since we helped develop Colorado's first Occupational Health Indicator Report, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has secured funding through NIOSH to develop a Fundamental Occupational Health Surveillance Program.
The Mountain & Plains ERC continues to work with CDPHE on occupational health surveillance. When the NIOSH funding was secured, we participated in the strategic planning process for the state surveillance program. During the fall of 2010, an interdisciplinary team of students developed a white paper that makes a strong case for surveillance in the state.
We look forward to continuing our work with CDPHE. Our goal is to amplify the results of the state-based surveillance program and work toward prevention.