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Work-RISQS Frequently Asked Questions


About Work-RISQS
What is Work-RISQS?
What data are available from Work-RISQS?
What injuries or illnesses are counted in Work-RISQS?
What is a work-related injury or illness?
Where does Work-RISQS get its data?
 
Work-RISQS Results
What is a Work-RISQS national injury estimate?
How is a national injury rate calculated?
Why are rates based on FTE and not the number of people who worked?
What does the confidence interval mean?
 
Data Limitations
Why are some estimates or rates not reported in my query results?
What is not available from Work-RISQS?
Can I get injury estimates by state or region?
Can I get data for a specific occupation or industry?
 
Data Comparability
Are Work-RISQS injuries and illnesses reportable under OSHA guidelines?
Why does a Work-RISQS estimate differ from a published estimate that used the same data?
How does Work-RISQS data differ from BLS occupational injury & illness data?
 
Privacy Issues
Are there privacy restrictions on Work-RISQS data?



Back To Top What is Work-RISQS?
Work-RISQS is an interactive query system for users to find out how many work-related injuries and illnesses were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in a year. The user can select specific worker characteristics, types of injuries, or injury circumstances when they make a query.
 
Back To Top What data are available from Work-RISQS?
Users can get a single specific injury/illness estimate or an injury/illness rate based on hours worked in a year. Tables listing multiple estimates or rates of injuries/illnesses for selected characteristics are also available.
 
Back To Top What injuries or illnesses are counted in Work-RISQS?
The injury or illness must be:
  • work-related
  • nonfatal
  • treated in a U.S. hospital emergency department
  • to a civilian worker
 
Back To Top What is a work-related injury or illness?
The injury or illness is work-related if it occurred from doing:
  • Work for pay or other compensation
  • Work activities on a farm or ranch
  • Work as a volunteer for an organized group (e.g., volunteer fire dept.)
             More detailed guidelines...
 
Back To Top Where does Work-RISQS get its data?
 The data are collected for NIOSH from a small sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments through an occupational supplement to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS-Work). In each hospital, a staff member reads the emergency room charts and identifies work-related cases. For these cases they abstract information such as patient age and sex, type of injury, and how the injury occurred, but without names or other personal identifiers.
 
Back To Top What is a Work-RISQS national injury estimate?
The occupational injuries and illnesses treated in each of the sample hospitals commonly represent similar cases seen in other hospitals throughout the U.S. where we do not collect data. Because the hospitals from which we collect data were chosen in a statistically random fashion, we can extrapolate the cases we collect by using a statistical weight or multiplier to a national estimate. This process is not perfect and there is error associated with the sampling and extrapolation. Hence Work-RISQS results are only estimates. We use the confidence interval to express how large the error about this estimate is likely to be.
 
Back To Top How is a national injury rate calculated?
A Work-RISQS injury estimate is an estimate of the number of injuries and illnesses treated in an ED. A Work-RISQS injury rate is the estimated injury/illness number divided by the number of hours during a year that workers were on the job. For example, in 1998 there were an estimated 3,559,700 work-related injuries and illnesses treated in U.S. EDs which was a rate of about 2.8 injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time equivalent workers.
 
Back To Top Why are rates based on FTE and not the number of people who worked?
Rates determined by using hours worked (i.e., FTE) provide a better assessment of risk for many groups of workers such as youth or older workers who may work primarily part-time.
 
Back To Top What does the confidence interval mean?
The Work-RISQS estimates are based on a small sample of about 67 hospitals among the more than 5,000 U.S. hospitals. Selection of a different set of hospitals likely will give a different estimate. However, if each random sample is reasonably similar and representative of all hospitals, the estimates should fall within a relatively narrow range of values. The confidence interval represents the range that an estimate would be expected to fall within 95 times out of 100. In the Work-RISQS tables the confidence bounds are expressed as an amount to subtract or add to the estimate. Thus, other Work-RISQS estimates are not likely to be statistically different if they fall within the interval of the estimate plus and minus the confidence bounds. For example, the 1998 total injury/illness estimate was 3,559,500 605,100. Therefore 95% of the time a new estimate would be expected to be in the range of 2,954,400 to 4,164,600 injuries/illnesses.
 
Back To Top Why are some estimates or rates not reported in my query results?
For injury events that may be very rare or are localized in only one part of the U.S., the ability for Work-RISQS to produce reliable national estimates may be poor. Thus, Work-RISQS does not report national estimates that do not meet certain minimum reporting requirements to insure reasonable data quality.
 
Back To Top What is not available from Work-RISQS?
Work-RISQS counts only about a third of work-related injuries and illnesses because it does NOT include injuries and illnesses treated in doctors' offices, occupational medicine clinics, or other medical venues outside of a hospital emergency department. Also, Work-RISQS only includes injuries to civilians. It does not include injuries to active duty military or reservists in training.
 
Back To Top Can I get injury estimates by state or region?
No. Estimates are only available for the nation as a whole.
 
Back To Top Can I get data for a specific occupation or industry?
No. At this time, occupation or industry information is not available at Work-RISQS.
 
Back To Top Are Work-RISQS injuries and illnesses reportable under OSHA guidelines?
Work-RISQS uses a broader definition of what is a work-related injury or illness, but generally uses OSHA reporting guidelines as the backbone for data collection. Work-RISQS also includes cases for workers who are not under OSHA's jurisdiction or reporting requirements.
 
Back To Top Why does a Work-RISQS estimate differ from a published estimate that used the same data?
Published estimates of work-related injuries and illnesses that used NEISS work-related injury and illness data may have been prepared with early versions or subsets of the Work-RISQS' data set that were more rigorously edited or restricted in scope, or reporting practices and procedures may have changed slightly. However, estimates are generally the same.
 
Back To Top How does Work-RISQS data differ from BLS occupational injury & illness data?
The NEISS-Work data that Work-RISQS queries and the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual occupational injury and illness survey provide complementary views of the injury/illness burden of U.S. workers. The BLS provides annual estimates of occupational injuries and illnesses that required medical treatment, but not restricted to a particular medical venue such as an ED. BLS estimates are only for workers in private industry and only include injuries and illnesses that are OSHA reportable. Some of the detailed information available from NEISS-Work data, such as age and sex, is only available for lost-work time cases in the BLS survey. Estimates of injury and illness rates from the BLS annual survey are based on worker population estimates from the survey, whereas Work-RISQS calculates rates by using worker population estimates from the Current Population Survey, a separate survey of U.S. employment.
 
Back To Top Are there privacy restrictions on Work-RISQS data?
Yes. Thus, the Work-RISQS data can be used for aggregate statistical reporting and analysis only. The data reports available through Work-RISQS are for public use and do not include personal information that would identify an individual.

Because release of an individual's identity or health-related information is expressly prohibited by the Privacy Act, users will:
  • Use the Work-RISQS data for aggregate or summary statistical reporting and analysis only.
  • Not link Work-RISQS query results with individually identifiable data from other NIOSH or non-NIOSH data files.
  • Make no use of the identity of any person or product or its manufacturer discovered inadvertently and advise the Director, NIOSH, of any such discovery (1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)).
By using these data, you signify your agreement to comply with the above-stated statutorily based requirements.

 
 
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