Visit any emergency department in the United States and you may find individuals who were injured or who became ill on the job. In 2013 alone, an estimated 2.7 million workers received treatment in emergency departments for nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses. Although work-related deaths may receive more media attention, nonfatal injuries and illnesses take a toll on workers’ health and quality of life and often contribute to missed workdays and decreased productivity.
Preventing nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses requires accurate identification of cases so that risk factors can be determined and future injuries and illnesses prevented. However, a single comprehensive source of data for work-related injuries and illnesses does not exist. Currently, there are two main sources of national nonfatal occupational injury and illness data: the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) occupational supplement to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS-Work).