September 2013:
Occupational Health in New Mexico
Welcome to the first bulletin of Occupational Health in New Mexico that includes updates and issues surrounding occupational health. 


Reporting Occupational Notifiable Diseases and Conditions

Did you know that you are required by New Mexico state regulations to report to the Department of Health when you diagnose an occupational injury or illness?

As a health care provider, you are the eyes and ears of public health. Reporting makes it possible to detect failures of work place health and safety protection and prevent further illness and injury due to work.

Conditions to Report
  • Asbestosis
  • Asthma
  • Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis
  • Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Noise Induced Hearing Loss
  • Pesticide Poisoning
  • Silicosis
  • Burn Hospitalization
  • Injury Death
  • Traumatic Amputation
  • Other Illnesses or Injuries Related to Occupational Exposure

What about HIPAA?
Health care providers, facilities, and health plans may disclose protected health information to public health authorities for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability [45 CFR § 164.512(b)]. For more information, see HIPAA Privacy Rule and Public Health.

How Do I Report?
Download, complete, and fax the NM Occupational Health Reporting Form to the Occupational Health Surveillance Program. Or, simply call us with the information. Cases should be reported within 24 hours.
Report within 24 hours
Download and complete NM Occupational Health Reporting Form
Fax  (505) 841-5895
Call  (505) 841-5894
         (505) 827-0006

First Focus Group Held

The OHSP collaborated with Denece Kesler, MD and the UNM School of Medicine to conduct a focus group with providers and staff. The goal was to get a snapshot of:
  • The awareness of the OHSP and Occupational Health Registry among health care providers and administrators
  • Potential measures that could improve the collection of reports from clinics and their providers
Since providers are required by regulation to report to the New Mexico Department of Health when they diagnose certain work-related conditions, conducting a focus group helped explore the thoughts and opinions about reporting work-related conditions. The summary report is available upon request.

Now Available! Mini Reporting Form Magnet Notepad

The OHSP created a mini reporting form on a magnet notepad that providers can have handy in their clinic or office. If you would like to receive one, please let us know and we can provide one to you. You can see it on the OHSP Health Providers page.

Occupation and industry come to NM BRFSS

Work is increasingly being identified as a major component of health. The 2011 Institute of Medicine Incorporating Occupational Information in Electronic Health Records: Letter Report emphasized the importance of collecting information on occupation for the diagnosis and treatment of several disease, and as a cornerstone for establishing policies, interventions, and prevention strategies for improving worker health. The report recommended that occupational information be collected in both electronic health systems and public health data, and that key variables should include occupation, industry and work-relatedness (1).

Recognizing that work is a key social determinant of health, the NM Department of Health began collecting information on occupation and industry on the NM Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 2011 as state-added questions. The BRFSS is the nation's premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collects state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. BRFSS Industry/Occupation (I/O) questions have been used by states to answer questions about the prevalence of current depression and frequent mental distress by occupation (2), the distribution of influenza-like illness by occupation (3), and binge drinking and occupation (4). The I/O questions in BRFSS are slightly different from questions in the rest of the survey as they are asked in an open-ended manner, then coded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Mexico was one of only a handful of states to collect I/O data in 2011. The first year that NM included I/O on the BRFSS, respondents chose their occupation and industry from lists making 2011 data incompatible with subsequent years. Below is a sample of 2011 data results. Currently, there are 22 states collecting I/O on the BRFSS in 2013, yielding a total estimated sample size of 248, 000. The OHSP is glad to be in on the ground floor of this new data source for occupational health surveillance and hope to share our work in the near future.

The OHSP plans to contribute 2012 data for pooled analysis across states. State-specific data will be used to answer questions about health and risk factors, such as lack of access to health care or obesity by occupation and industry, in order to identify workers at risk. This will then allow for industry and occupation-specific targeting of health policies and prevention strategies.

1. Hawes Cleaver L, Schultz A, Liverman C. Incorporating Occupational Information in Electronic Health Records: Letter Report. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press, 2011.

2. Occupation and the prevalence of current depression and frequent mental distress, WA BRFSS 2006 and 2008. Fan. 2012, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, pp. 890-903.

3. "Distribution of influenza-like illness (ILI) by occupation in Washington State. Anderson N, Bonauto D, et al. 11 s.l. : PLoS One, 2012, Vol. 7.

4. Binge drinking and occupation, North Dakota, 2004-2005. Jarman D, Naimi T, et al. 4, s.l. : Prev Chronic Dis, 2007, Vol. 4.

Copyright © 2013 New Mexico Department of Health, All rights reserved.

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