Occupational health indicators : a guide for tracking occupational health conditions and their determinants
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Occupational health indicators : a guide for tracking occupational health conditions and their determinants

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      Last updated March 2014 : changes to the Occupational Health Indicator methodology from the March 2013 version are highlighted in yellow.

      In 1998, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), in association with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), convened the NIOSH-States Occupational Health Surveillance Work Group to make recommendations to NIOSH concerning State-based surveillance activities for the coming decade. The original Work Group members (see Appendix A) agreed that the surveillance planning process should be outcome driven; e.g., begin with the identification of occupational injuries, illnesses and hazards to be placed under surveillance. The Work Group also identified a number of surveillance issues that cut across specific conditions and made several recommendations to NIOSH for the implementation of comprehensive State-based occupational health surveillance systems (CSTE 2001). A draft of the Work Group report contributed to the NIOSH Surveillance Strategic Plan (NIOSH 2001).

      The Work Group report described draft “profiles” for priority conditions to be placed under surveillance as part of State-based surveillance systems. Since the publication of the Work Group report, public health surveillance “indicators” have been developed in several areas, including chronic disease, injury control and environmental health (CSTE 1999, STIPDA 1999, CDC 2001, CSTE 2002). These indicators are a construct of public health surveillance that define a specific measure of health or risk status (i.e., the occurrence of a health event or of factors associated with that event) among a specified population. Surveillance indicators allow a state to compare its health or risk status with that of other states and evaluate trends over time within the state, and guide priorities for prevention and intervention efforts. Occupational health indicators can provide information about a population’s health status with respect to workplace injuries and illnesses or to factors that can influence health. These indicators can either be measures of health (work-related disease or injury) or factors associated with health, such as workplace exposures, hazards or interventions.

      This document describes the current recommended set of indicators for occupational health surveillance by the Work Group. The occupational health indicators that have been developed represent the consensus view of state and NIOSH representatives, and are intended as advisory to the states. The indicators represent a core set of data that, if collected at the state level, would assist in the development of programs to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. They are a subset of the larger number of conditions that were recommended for surveillance in 2001. The indicators are intended to be used in conjunction with other guidelines for the state-based surveillance of occupational injuries and illnesses (NIOSH 1995, CSTE 2001), and to be used as a complement to overall state and national goals to improve the health of the population (CDC 2000). Members of the current Work Group are listed in Appendix C.

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