Health Surveillance and Protection

Occupational exposure and worker health risks evaluated for DOE and other federal agencies

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education is building a strong foundation for addressing present and future concerns about human health. In support of the U.S. Department of Energy, ORISE collects, manages and analyzes health data on current and former workers; conducts epidemiologic studies and health surveillance; and provides technical assistance in the protection of human subjects.

By designing and maintaining worker exposure and health data registries, ORISE has provided DOE with valuable capabilities to address worker concerns efficiently. These data are evaluated and made available to policy and regulatory officials, but also to researchers and the scientific community as a matter of public interest and environmental concern.

ORISE works closely with DOE to administer its Human Subjects Protection Program, which ensures the rights and protection of human research participants in all research funded by DOE, conducted at DOE institutions, or performed by DOE employees or their contractors. ORISE supports DOE Institutional Review Boards for oversight of research activities and in keeping the public informed on the types of research DOE commissions.

To advance health surveillance and protection, ORISE offers specialized services and capabilities:

Two technicians at work in the ORISE Beryllium Laboratory

ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory maintains CAP certification

The College of American Pathologists, or CAP, has accredited the ORISE beryllium laboratory in Oak Ridge for the sixth time since the laboratory’s first accreditation in 2009. The laboratory is one of only three labs nationwide that performs the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test. This test determines if a patient has developed a sensitization to beryllium, which could evolve into chronic beryllium disease. Exposure to the lightweight metal is often encountered by inhaling beryllium dust particulates in an industrial workplace setting.