Conceptual and definitional issues in occupational injury epidemiology

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Aug;32(2):106-15. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199708)32:2<106::aid-ajim2>;2-x.


This paper presents several models that further define the concept of occupational injury. While traditional models have proved successful in isolating specific research questions and health phenomena, the conceptual model presented permits a broader view of all injury morbidity. This model is based on both the level and frequency of energy transfers. A process model of occupational injury is also presented to describe the basic pathophysiological relationships associated with tissue effects/damage and recovery/repair. Numerous tradeoffs exist in variable selection, and a third model explores some of these tradeoffs. Differences in terminology and fundamental principles can limit the progress of occupational injury research. Accordingly, an argument is made for consolidation and consensus of terms. Finally, considerations for research are suggested, with an emphasis on the severity of the injury, the risk ratio, and the population at risk.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / classification*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Causality
  • Energy Transfer / physiology
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Occupational Diseases / classification*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / classification
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design / standards
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*