Dr. Ardaiz (far left), CMO, participating in the 2011 “Late Breaker” session of the American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC), the annual gathering of Occupational Medicine’s leading practitioners, discussing the health concerns associated with the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan in March of 2011.
Dr. Michael Ardaiz joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as its first CMO in 2008 and currently serves as the principal advisor to DOE officials on matters pertaining to occupational and environmental medicine, human reliability programs, and public health activities; and represents the Department in meetings with organized labor and other Federal departments/agencies.
DOE’s CMO serves as the chief occupational and environmental medicine physician for the Department in support of over 50 occupational health facilities which in turn provide healthcare over 100,000 DOE Federal and contractor employees, as well as over 60,000 former DOE employees. The Department’s CMO functions as an integral member of the Department’s Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) organization.
Health and Safety Programs
OM supports health and safety through the prevention, as well as the management of injury and illness. Medical screening and surveillance for the early detection of overexposures and health effects are central considerations. Epidemiologic studies can provide OM professionals with valuable information regarding the risks of and specific risk factors associated with occupational injuries and illnesses.
Employee Concerns and Differing Professional Opinions Programs
Departmental requirements provide for an environment in which employees can freely communicate their concerns related to the environment, safety, and health. Furthermore, requirements exist for an organizational effort to resolve disputes where technical concerns may exceed the capabilities of site-based subject matter experts and an independent panel of experts may be appropriate.
OM supports security through the assessment of physical and mental suitability of personnel for security-related duties, including access to information and materials associated with national security significance. Protective Forces personnel also undergo assessments which both ensure their suitability and enable their effective rehabilitation and reintegration following significant injuries and illnesses.
Employee Assistance and Substance Abuse Programs
Departmental requirements provide for assistance programs for employees with respect to stress management, sub stance abuse counseling, and crisis intervention. Employees in safety-sensitive or possessing security clearances may also be subject to drug-testing in which medical review officers play a critical role in validating use of prescribed medications among individuals who test positive and ensuring that their medical condition and medication do not pose a significant risk.