The American Lung Association worked with partners to develop the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda to reduce the suffering and death from asthma. We hope that groups and individuals who care about asthma will embrace the recommendations found in the agenda and push to get them put in place nationwide. The policy agenda recognizes that to succeed in our fight against asthma, we must make changes at the federal, state, and local levels, and usually, we act on many issues at the same time.

Workplace conditions can cause or worsen asthma. Work-related asthma accounts for approximately 15 percent of asthma cases among adults in the U.S. Many people work in situations that make them vulnerable to asthma while also discouraging them from getting help. Therefore, policies to manage workplace asthma should recognize that other issues need to be addressed, including workers' rights and lack of health insurance, among others. By encouraging policymakers to create safe workplaces, you can help those suffering from asthma and other lung diseases. Included are the four policy recommendations relating to workplaces found in included in the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda.

  1. All workplaces should be 100-percent tobacco-free. One work-related trigger for asthma is secondhand smoke. Eliminating tobacco use from the workplace is an important step in creating a healthier environment and reducing asthma risk.
  2. Surveillance mechanisms should be established and implemented to document levels of work-related asthma and follow trends. The collected data can establish links between asthma and occupation or industry. These associations can help advocates identify specific areas for improvement.

Strategies:

Include coding for occupation and industry in current asthma surveillance systems

Improve surveillance through the use of innovative approaches, such as electronic medical records

  • National guidelines should be developed for management of work-related asthma, including primary and secondary prevention, as well as education of healthcare providers, employers and employees. Asthma management in the workplace includes managing existing asthma correctly, preventing exposure to harmful substances and responding to asthma emergencies. This effort requires coordination and education of providers, employers and employees.
  • Workplaces should follow national guidelines for management of work-related asthma, including primary and secondary prevention, as well as education of employers and employees. Steps should be taken to ensure that every workplace follows proper guidelines to reduce the risk of asthma.

Page last updated: April 16, 2020

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