Mortality among a cohort of electric utility workers, 1960-1991

Am J Ind Med. 1997 May;31(5):534-44. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199705)31:5<534::aid-ajim6>;2-t.


Overall mortality trends among an electric utility workforce are examined. The study cohort (n = 40,335) included all workers with at least 1 year of work experience from 1960-1991; 3,753 deaths were observed in this cohort. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and internal cohort analyses were used to assess mortality trends for the entire cohort and for specific occupational groups. Most SMRs were < or = 1.0 and were generally lower for noncancer (cardiovascular, COPD, and injuries) than for cancer mortality. Compared to office staff, rate ratios (RR) were higher for respiratory cancers for field staff [(RR = 2.3, 95% CI, 1.0-5.0) linecrew (RR = 2.2 95% CI, 1.5-3.1), and power plant occupations (RR = 2.4, 95% CI, 1.6-3.6)]. Nonmanagement occupations had rate ratios for motor vehicle injuries and all types of injuries, within a range of 2.5-4.7, with all lower CIs > 1.0. The healthy worker effect is an important factor in explaining the difference between SMR and internal cohort analyses results. The SMR results indicate that this workforce has lower rates for overall mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer and nonintentional injury. A consistent finding in the internal cohort analyses that merits further research was higher mortality rates for respiratory cancer and injuries among nonoffice staff.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • California
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Electricity*
  • Female
  • Healthy Worker Effect
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking