Diseases and Jobs

 

The Epidemiology Perspective

From the point of view of epidemiology and occupational disease surveillance, what are the most common work-related diseases? For each occupational disease, which jobs have the highest risk? Within each job, what are the job tasks or conditions that put the workers at risk?

Linking Diseases and Job Tasks: An Example

The aim of Haz-Map is to focus on job tasks that are known to increase workers' risk for occupational diseases. The table below shows such job tasks for the construction industry.

 

Job Title

Hazardous Job Task (Associated Disease)

insulator
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Work with glue solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
Use n-hexane as glue solvent (peripheral neuropathy after prolonged high exposure)
Use epoxy or isocyanate sealants, adhesives or foams (ACD, OA)
roofer
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Apply asphalt to cables, pipes or roofs (photoirritant dermatitis)
Clean up equipment with solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
Install or remove lead roofing (lead poisoning)
Machine or sand allergenic wood (ACD, OA)
Use epoxy or isocyanate sealants, adhesives or foams (ACD, OA)
brick, block & stone mason
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Mix & lay cement or concrete (ACD)
Grind or cut tiles, stones, bricks or terrazzo (silicosis)
Sandblast (silicosis)
Wear rubber gloves (ACD)
concrete or terrazzo worker
Mix & lay cement or concrete (ACD)
Grind or cut tiles, stones, bricks or terrazzo (silicosis)
Wear rubber gloves (ACD)
Use epoxy or isocyanate sealants, adhesives or foams (ACD, OA)
carpenter
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Work with glue solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
Use n-hexane as glue solvent (peripheral neuropathy)
Use epoxy, acrylate, isocyanate, or formaldehyde-resin adhesives (ACD, OA)
Machine or sand allergenic wood (ACD, OA)
Remove old paint (lead poisoning)
Paint, oil-based (acute solvent syndrome)
Paint, water-based (ACD)
Paint, 2 part epoxy or urethane (ACD, OA)
Clean up equipment with solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
Machine or sand creosote treated wood (photoirritant dermatitis)
construction, industrial or maintenance painter
Sandblast (silicosis)
Surface preparation of cadmium alloy (cadmium poisoning)
Surface preparation of beryllium alloy (beryllium disease)
Remove old paint (lead poisoning)
Paint, oil-based (acute solvent syndrome)
Painted with oil-based paints with heavy exposure to solvents for more than 10 to 20 years (chronic toxic encephalopathy)
Paint, water-based (ACD)
Paint, 2-part epoxy or urethane (ACD, OA)
Spray paint, chromium, nickel & cobalt pigments (ACD, OA)
Spray paint, lead-based (lead poisoning)
Clean up equipment with solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
electrician/repairer of transformers, electrical, or electronic equipment
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Degrease metal (acute solvent syndrome)
Solder or braze (ACD, OA)
Braze using cadmium-based solder (cadmium poisoning)
Remove or replace PCB contaminated fluid in transformers (chloracne)
Splice electrical cable using lead (lead poisoning)
Use epoxy or isocyanate sealants, adhesives or foams (ACD, OA)
plumber, pipe fitter, or steamfitter
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Degrease metal (acute solvent syndrome)
Work with glue solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
Apply asphalt to cables, pipes or roofs (photoirritant dermatitis)
Wear rubber gloves (ACD)
Solder or braze (ACD, OA)
Braze using cadmium-based solder (cadmium poisoning)
Repair or remove water lines or cast iron soil pipes (lead poisoning)
Clean up equipment with solvents (acute solvent syndrome)
Weld (see associated diseases for welder)
sheet metal worker
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Machine metal (ACD, OA, HP)
Machine lead (lead poisoning)
Degrease metal (acute solvent syndrome)
Solder or braze (ACD, OA)
Braze using cadmium-based solder (cadmium poisoning)
Forge metal (carbon monoxide poisoning)
Weld (see associated diseases for welder)
welder, cutter, or burner
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Degrease metal (acute solvent syndrome)
Prepare surface of cadmium alloy (cadmium poisoning)
Prepare surface of beryllium alloy (beryllium disease)
Remove old paint (lead poisoning)
Solder or braze (ACD, OA)
Braze using cadmium-based solder (cadmium poisoning)
Gas or arc weld, cut or burn (metal fume fever, cadmium poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, acute inhalation injury from NO2)
Arc weld stainless steel (OA)
Arc weld mild steel (siderosis)
Arc weld manganese alloy (manganese poisoning)
Arc weld aluminum (acute inhalation injury from ozone)
Weld, braze or solder on degreasing solvents (acute inhalation injury from phosgene)
Weld, braze or solder on Teflon coated metal (polymer fume fever)
heating & air conditioning installer
Installed insulation before 1975 (asbestosis)
Remove insulation installed before 1975 (asbestosis)
Braze using cadmium-based solder (cadmium poisoning)
Degrease metal (acute solvent syndrome)
Solder or braze (ACD, OA)
Weld (see associated diseases for welder)
Use epoxy or isocyanate sealants, adhesives or foams (ACD, OA)
dry wall taper, plasterer Before 1975, mixed, sprayed or sanded drywall compound, fireproofing plaster or acoustical cement (asbestosis)

Sites with information on welding hazards: OSHA and MSHA

Job tasks with increased risk for injuries, cancer and skin irritation are not covered in this list.

Abbreviations: ACD = allergic contact dermatitis; OA = occupational asthma; HP = hypersensitivity pneumonitis

This table was based on an earlier project:

Construction Jobs

  Revised February 28, 2004

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