Identification of work-related injuries in a State Trauma Registry

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Mar;54(3):356-62. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182444fe7.


Objective: Many state trauma registries contain work-related information but are underutilized for occupational injury research/surveillance. We assessed three methods of identifying work-related injuries in the Washington State Trauma Registry (WTR).

Methods: State-designated trauma facilities report traumatic injuries meeting specific inclusion criteria to the WTR. The WTR reports from 1998 to 2008 were linked to workers' compensation claims to generate sensitivity estimates.

Results: The sensitivity of the WTR work-related indicator was 87%, varying significantly by injury mechanism/location. Sensitivity was 89% for payer and 60% for an indicator based on International Classification of Diseases-9th Revision-Clinical Modification external cause codes.

Conclusions: The WTR work-related indicator is highly sensitive and may identify injuries that occur in the course of exempt/excluded employment, are not reported to workers' compensation, and/or are work-related using definitions that go beyond WC coverage. Judicious use of external cause codes may identify additional work-related injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Occupational Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Injuries / etiology
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*