• Journal Article

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

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

Abstract

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