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Chronic health conditions more frequent among miners: study


Photo: Ron Levine/iStockphoto

Washington — Miners are at elevated risk for chronic pain, hearing loss and high blood pressure compared with workers in nonmanual occupations, NIOSH researchers say.

Using the National Health Interview Survey, the researchers looked at 2007-2018 data for more than 105,000 male workers. They calculated the frequency of chronic health outcomes for six different industry groups with a high proportion of manual labor occupations, and compared it with that of nonmanual labor industries.

Findings show that miners younger than 55 had a higher likelihood of high blood pressure, while all miners showed an elevated occurrence of lower back pain, leg pain stemming from lower back pain, joint pain and hearing loss.

“Given previous research on chronic pain and opioid misuse, the high pain prevalence found among miners suggests mining employers should reduce work factors that cause injury while also providing an environment where workers can address pain management and substance use,” the study concludes.

The researchers also found that construction workers experienced an elevated occurrence of high pain.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, omitted female workers because of small sample sizes.

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