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From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
January 8, 2003

Occupational Health Indicators for Tracking Work-Related Health Effects and Their Determinants

JAMA. 2003;289(2):170. doi:10.1001/jama.289.2.170
Occupational Health Indicators for Tracking Work-Related Health Effects and Their Determinants

MMWR. 2002;51:1073-1074

Experts in various fields of public health have developed proposed indicators to enhance public health surveillance. These indicators have been published in Indicators for Chronic Disease Surveillance, June 2000; State Injury Indicator Report January 2002; and Draft Environmental Public Health Indicators, August 2002. The indicators are measures of health or factors associated with health in specified populations.

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Occupational Health Surveillance Work Group, a subcommittee of the Environmental/Occupational/Injury Committee, completed a set of proposed occupational health indicators that can be used by states to track work-related adverse health effects and their determinants. Occupational health indicators provide information about a population's health status with respect to workplace factors that can influence health. These proposed indicators include measures of health endpoints (e.g., work-related disease or injury) and measures of workplace factors associated with health (e.g., workplace exposures, hazards, and interventions). These indicators serve as a guide for states about the minimal level of occupational health surveillance activity. The indicators are intended to bring consistency to time-trend analyses and comparisons of occupational health status among states and to inform program and policy development at the national, state, and local levels to protect worker safety and health.

The occupational health indicators were developed, with support from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), by the workgroup, which included representatives of state labor and health agencies, CSTE, and NIOSH. These indicators represent the consensus view of state and NIOSH representatives and are intended as an advisory to the states. The implementation of these indicators will depend on the availability of fiscal resources and epidemiologic capacity. During the next year, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Washington will pilot the occupational health indicators to assess the data availability and the resources involved in implementing the indicators and to refine recommendations for standard data collection and presentation.

Additional information about the proposed occupational health indicators and publications from the CSTE Occupational Health Surveillance Workgroup are available at http://www.cste.org/occupationalhealth.htm.