Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work. As a result, occupational exposures to hazards are a large part of overall public health. The risk of exposure to hazardous materials and/or conditions in the workplace depends and varies greatly on the type of industry as well as the nature of the specific tasks performed by workers. Other variables affecting the risk of exposures include the number and types of preventive measures in place to minimize workplace exposure(s). Often extremely dangerous tasks are done safely, and less dangerous ones result in exposure.
Occupational exposures can be prevented or greatly reduced by the use of engineering controls, work-place procedures and/or personal protective clothing. An example of using engineering controls to reduce exposure is the use of local ventilation to pull hazardous vapors away from workers; an example of a work-place procedure used to reduce potential exposure may include requiring personal protective equipment (like a respirator) or clothes (like gloves) when working with or near hazardous chemicals. Data can give us information (see FAQs) that allows one to determine the extent of injuries/illnesses and to identify the workers or work tasks where the risk is greatest. With this information, exposure prevention measures can be identified and prioritized. In short, data helps us to become aware of how big a problem is and helps focus efforts to accomplish the goal of reducing risk.
There are very specific regulatory requirements that employers must follow related to the potential for exposure to hazardous chemicals and conditions in the workplace. In South Carolina, SC OSHA establishes and enforces these regulations. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a branch, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that is dedicated to tracking occupational exposures as well as educating employers and employees about work related hazards. The national Bureau of Labor and Statistics in the Department of Labor houses a lot of data and statistics related to occupational illnesses and injuries, including those reported to DHEC in South Carolina.
The focus of this page is to look at the health effects associated with work place exposures and to make associated data more accessible to researchers, employers, employees, and the general public. On these pages, you will find data and information about several occupational health indicators. More will be added as the data/information becomes available. Our hope is that in making these data available, it will be easier to determine the SC population’s health status with respect to workplace injuries and illnesses.
- Work-Related Hospitalizations
- Hospitalizations for Work-Related Burns
- Hospitalizations from or with Pneumoconiosis
- Work-Related Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Adults (state residents aged 16 years or older)
- Hospitalizations for Work-Related Low Back Disorder
By looking at these indicators over time, we can evaluate trends within South Carolina as well as make comparisons with other states’ health or risk status. This will also guide priorities for targeted prevention and intervention efforts and aid us in developing awareness and educational tools to help working populations better understand risk(s) and how to control them.
Occupational Health Resouces and Materials
The links below provide more information (i.e., risk factors, symptoms, prevention, treatment, etc.) on many types of occupational health issues.
- Back-related injuries (OSHA)
- Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace (NIOSH)
- Restaurant and Food Services Health and Safety Information Sheet (NIOSH)
- Regulation of Occupational Lead Exposure (OSHA)
- Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology Surveillance (ABLES) Program (NIOSH)
- Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Outdoor Firing Ranges (NIOSH)
- Occupational Diseases and Injuries (like pneumoconioses) (NIOSH)
- Occupational Industries and Occupations (NIOSH)
- Occupational Health Hazard Evaluation Program (NIOSH)
- Occupational Hazards and Exposures (NIOSH)
- Occupational Safety and Prevention (NIOSH)
- Occupational Data and Statistics Gateway (NIOSH)
- Information about Chemicals in the Workplace (NIOSH)
Occupational Health Data
You may notice that there is neither a “Map It.” nor "Create It." feature on this landing page. That is because the occupational health data that is displayed is state-wide data. If in the future data is available at a smaller geographic level, these features will be added to this landing page.
- Information About Workplace Exposures (Haz-Map)
- SC OSHA (SC OSHA)
- Federal OSHA (OSHA)
- OSHA Standards (OSHA)
- Differences between SC and Federal OSHA Standards (SC OSHA)
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Information About Noise Exposure, Including Occupational Exposure (SC DHEC)
- South Carolina Injury Statistics (US Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
- Occupational Health (National Library of Medicine)