• Article

Rates and costs of respiratory illness in coal mining: A cross-industry comparative analysis

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence and costs of respiratory illness for workers in coal mining, compared with other US industries. METHODS: Using 5 years of insurance claims data for an annual average of 96,240 adult males, we model the probability and costs of respiratory illness as a function of workers' industry and other factors. RESULTS: Controlling for nonindustry factors, workers in coal mining had significantly higher rates of respiratory illness claims (by 2.1% to 3.3% points) compared with other mining, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. For coal mining workers with respiratory illness, annual medical care costs for these claims were also significantly higher (by $111 to $289). Surprisingly, drug costs were mostly lower (by $17 to $268). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the continued importance and potential cost effectiveness of measures to protect miners from harmful occupational exposures, particularly to coal dust

Citation

Van Houtven, G., Reed, W. R., Biddle, E. A., Volkwein, J. C., Clayton, L., & Finkelstein, E. (2010). Rates and costs of respiratory illness in coal mining: A cross-industry comparative analysis. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(6), 610-617. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181de47e3