Using emergency department surveillance data to assess occupational injury and illness reporting by workers

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ObjectiveResearchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) share detailed methodologies from conducting two follow-back studies initiated in 2010 that were designed to assess whether workers reported their injuries and illnesses to their employers and to identify worker incentives and disincentives for reporting work-related injuries to employers.MethodologyStudy respondents were sampled from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System occupational supplement (NEISS-Work), an emergency department-based surveillance system. Telephone interviews were used to collect information directly from workers.OutcomesAmong persons treated in emergency departments who could be identified as working at the time of injury or illness, most reported their injury or illness to their employer. Our studies did not assess if these reported injuries and illnesses were recorded on the Occupational Safety and Health logs.DiscussionOur approach suggests that emergency department-based surveillance data are limited in their utility to investigate underreporting among workers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 59:600–609, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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