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Am J Ind Med. 2011 Sep;54(9):681-95.

World Trade Center disaster: assessment of responder occupations, work locations, and job tasks.

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  • 1Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, USA.



To date there have been no comprehensive reports of the work performedby 9/11 World Trade Center responders.


18,969 responders enrolled in the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program were used to describe workers’ pre-9/11 occupations, WTC work activities and locations from September 11, 2001 to June 2002.


The most common pre-9/11 occupation was protective services (47%); other common occupations included construction, telecommunications, transportation, and support services workers. 14% served as volunteers. Almost one-half began work on 9/11 and >80% reported working on or adjacent to the ‘‘pile’’ at Ground Zero. Initially,the most common activity was search and rescue but subsequently, the activities of most responders related to their pre-9/11 occupations. Other major activities included security; personnel support; buildings and grounds cleaning; and telecommunications repair.


The spatial, temporal, occupational, and task-related taxonomy reported here will aid the development of a job-exposure matrix, assist in assessment of disease risk, and improve planning and training for responders in future urban disasters.

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