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ty in training physicians to detect occupational illnesses and how little, really, of their training is involved in that. Have you found that to be true, and if so, have you given any thought to how we could improve the ability of physicians to detect these illnesses?
Ms. NORWOOD. I really have no experience in that area, Mr. McKernan. I have noted that the people who testified from NIOSH had some very specific ideas about that, but I have nothing to add to that.
Mr. McKERNAN. That really doesn't come into your gathering Ms. NORWOOD. No, not at all. Mr. McKERNAN. I have no further questions.
Mr. FRANK. The last question from me, Dr. Norwood, given your general experience in the field, if we were prepared to put more resources into this than we have, would the administrative structure-assuming that we think more has to be done to focus on the occupational illnesses with long latency, et cetera—is the current administrative structure adequate if we just increase the resources some, the attention, or would there need to be some new focus of attention? Are we adequately staffed at the Federal level if we wanted to step up our information-gathering here preparatory to trying to make some public policy judgments?
Ms. NORWOOD. Well, I really only have knowledge of what is going on in the Department of Labor. I cannot speak to NIOSH and the National Center for Health Statistics. I can tell you that our statistical program is, in my judgment, a good one. We have not cut the basic budget for it. It has been going on for many years. We are continually building in refinements. We hope to build in more refinements and I don't see any problems at the moment there.
I can assure you that if there are, I will be the first one up here telling you about them.
Mr. FRANK. Well, we are not, as you say in your 1982 statement with regard to the difficulty, we are not doing a very good job right now. I mean, you said it is a problem
Ms. NORWOOD. I don't think it is that the Bureau isn't doing a very good job-
Mr. FRANK. No, please don't personalize these things--
Mr. FRANK. We are talking about the whole Federal Government. I said that at the beginning, that it wasn't the Bureau. It is not helpful for you to act in a way that takes everything personally. I said at the outset that I was not talking about any criticism of the Bureau, that I was talking about a problem-in 1982, in your report, you said, “We have a serious undercounting.'
In your written testimony, you say today that "we have an intractable problem." I am not making any statements that you haven't made yourself about the problem. We are focusing on the problem. It is not helpful to us in trying to deal with the problem to, frankly, be hypersensitive.
The question we are trying to get is, we have a problem where you have acknowledged that we have a serious under-report-
Ms. NORWOOD. Yes. Mr. FRANK [continuing]. And we have an intractable problem. The fact that people have been doing a good job with the resources they have had is OK, but obviously it hasn't gotten us far enough, so the question we have is, if we no longer want the problem to be intractable, and we no longer want to have serious underreporting, what do we do about it? That is the
area I am trying to focus on. Ms. NORWOOD. Well, I think, Mr. Frank, I was trying to suggest that my experience has been that often throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it if there are very serious conceptual and data-collection issues. That is where I think we are here.
We have tried to work with the other agencies of the Government who have responsibility in these areas and we will continue to do that. I guess that all I am trying to say is that from the experience that I have had, the most basic problem is that we have got to zero in on the question of how we, as a country, define an occupational illness.
Mr. FRANK. That is part of my question, who has got the responsibility for that now? Is this something OSHA should be doing; does it need a new statute? Given that point, my question is: How do we begin that? Who would have the responsibility to begin to start-is it NIOSH, is it OSHA in your judgment, both professionally as a statistician
Ms. NORWOOD. Yes.
Mr. FRANK (continuing]. And economist, given your position with regard to data collection, I am just wondering where you think we can best—maybe it is falling through the cracks now, in which case you have to suggest that somebody have the responsibility who doesn't have it.
Ms. NORWOOD. No, I think that it is being addressed by a large number of agencies. I do think some of this is Congress' responsibility because I think there are public policy issues involved. It is clearly an issue for the public health authorities of the country and for NIOSH and for others who are involved in the health field.
Now, I cannot tell you whether enough is being done. I reallycan't make a judgment about that. I do know that a great deal is being done, but there are still issues that need decisions, I think, and need definition.
I can only speak to you as an economic statistician, and all that I can tell you is that if we can identify the phenomenon that we want to measure, which I might say, in all of our programs, is frequently much more difficult than all of the statistical design to be set in place to get the end results, but if we can identify that phenomenon, then I think, as a country, no matter who does the data collection, we can move forward.
Our problem in the occupational illness area is that because of the uncertainties about the illness incidence, the latency problem, the commonality of symptoms, the causation problem and the difficulties of diagnosis, we have not yet identified the phenomenon in a careful enough and specific enough manner for us to be able to go out and develop a data system based upon it.
Mr. FRANK. Thank you.
Mr. FRANK. Next, we will hear from Mr. Patrick Tyson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, the Department of Labor.
STATEMENT OF PATRICK TYSON, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRE
TARY, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY FRANK FRODYMA, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PROGRAM EVALUATION, AND JACKIE DE MESME, LEGISLATIVE ANALYST
Mr. Tyson. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, let me first introduce the folks at the table here with me. On my left, Frank Frodyma, who is with our Office of Policy and is a member of the BLS OSHA Task Force. On my right, Jackie DeMesme, who is from the Office of Legislation.
I have got a fairly lengthy prepared statement, also a summary of that statement, but I was interested in the discussion -
Mr. FRANK. We will put the entire statement in the record without objection.
Mr. Tyson. That is what I thought you would want to do. We can get right into the questions if you like. The issue of occupational illness is one that I am personally interested in very much and I would like to continue the dialog that you have already started with other-
Mr. FRANK. Yes, go ahead.
Mr. Tyson [continuing). Of the folks that have testified up here. At that point, I will take any questions you want to ask.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Tyson follows:]
STATEMENT OF PATRICK R. TYSON
June 20, 1984
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the data on occupational injuries and illnesses which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses in carrying out its responsibilities.
Section 8 (C) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of
1970 (the Act) requires employers to keep a variety of records
as prescribed by the Secretary, including records necessary
for enforcement of the Act and for development of information
on causes and prevention of workplace accidents and illnesses. Section 24 of the Act further requires the Secretary to main
tain a program of collection, compilation and analysis of
occupational safety and health statistics.
The Act specifies
that employers must maintain accurate records and make perio
dic reports on work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses and must maintain accurate records of employee exposure to
potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents that
have to be monitored or measured under OSHA's health standards. The regulations issued under this authority, at CFR Part 1904.1-.22, describe in detail these responsibilities of
BLS Injury-Illness Data:
In 1971, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was assigned responsibility by the Secretary under section 24 of the Act to conduct a new and expanded annual survey of work-related
injuries and illnesses. That Survey in the past few years has been based on a sample of 280,000 establishments. In
addition to the survey, BLS
has developed a Supplementary
Data System (SDS) which is based on State workers' compensation data. This system, in which thirty-two States now voluntarily participate, provides OSHA and many other interested groups with valuable information about the injuries that occur in high risk industries, the equipment and substances involved, and the relative frequency of accident
OSHA has used the data collected by BLS for a wide variety
of purposes including research, standards-setting, voluntary
programs, training, education, and enforcement.
years OSHA has made even more extensive use of the BLS
statistics and records maintained by employers in its enforcement program and has begun developing its own data systems
to guide other facets of the OSHA program.