Occupational health and safety surveillance and research using workers' compensation data

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Feb;54(2):171-6. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823c14cb.


Objective: Examine uses of US workers' compensation (WC) data for occupational safety and health purposes.

Methods: This article is a summary of the proceedings from an invitational workshop held in September 2009 to discuss the use of WC data for occupational safety and health prevention purposes.

Results: Workers' compensation data systems, although limited in many ways, contain information such as medical treatments, their costs and outcomes, and disability causes that are unavailable from national occupational surveillance sources.

Conclusions: Despite their limitations, WC records are collected in a manner consistent with many occupational health and safety surveillance needs. Reports are available on the use of WC data for surveillance and research purposes such as estimating the frequency, magnitude, severity, and cost of compensated injuries. Inconsistencies in WC data can limit generalization of research results.

MeSH terms

  • Congresses as Topic
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health / economics
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Workers' Compensation / economics
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*