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Project Title:

Developing a Smarter National Surveillance System for Occupational Safety and Health in the 21st Century
PIN: DELS-BANR-14-01        

Major Unit:

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Institute of Medicine

Sub Unit: Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
Committee on National Statistics
Board on Health Sciences Policy

RSO: Yih, Peggy T

Subject/Focus Area: Agriculture; Computers and Information Technology; Engineering and Technology; Health and Medicine; Industry and Labor

Project Scope
An ad hoc committee will study opportunities and provide recommendations for developing a “smarter,” more coordinated, cost-effective system for occupational safety and health surveillance in the United States. 

In the course of its study, the committee will gather information about the strengths and weaknesses of existing national and state approaches and also review different methodologies and approaches for occupational safety and health surveillance, particularly with respect to usefulness and cost-effectiveness.

Based on information gathered during the study, the committee will develop a vision for a “smarter” cost-effective occupational safety and health surveillance system; describe system components and their attributes; and recommend key steps for developing such a system.  As part of its vision, the committee will:

--define essential requirements and goals for a modern occupational safety and health surveillance system, identify critical gaps to fill, and reflect on how the methods, tools, and goals of surveillance may have changed since the 1987 NRC report on Counting Injuries and Illnesses in the Workplace: Proposals for a Better System was issued; and draw also upon other subsequent reports (for example, CDC’s Vision for Public Health Surveillance in the 21st Century, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists meeting summaries from 2009 and 2013, and other NRC reports);

--conceptualize ways that some surveillance data might be collected, analyzed, interpreted, and disseminated more cost-effectively or innovatively (including identifying novel or underutilized means of collecting data, collecting data at different scales or different interfaces, and creating collaborations across public health and other domains); and where possible, identify new data opportunities given current and emerging technological advancements in information technology (such as electronic health records and electronic submission of OSHA 300 logs); and

--explore the respective current and potential roles of various federal and state agencies and private partners (such as employers and labor unions) in collecting and leveraging occupational safety and health surveillance information.

The committee will identify cost, data quality and management, and other tradeoffs inherent in different aspects of or different approaches to conducting surveillance (including the implications of using existing data systems versus collecting additional original data).  It may also draw from the experience of other nations with occupational safety and health surveillance and from other fields in which surveillance methods and efforts may provide insights.

The committee’s recommendations will include the strengths and weaknesses of the envisioned system relative to the status quo and identify key actors from federal agencies (i.e., NIOSH, BLS, OSHA, etc.) and others, and both short- and long-term actions and strategies needed to bring about a progressive evolution of the current system.

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 06/15/2016
 Meeting 2 - 07/14/2016
 Meeting 3 - 08/22/2016
 Meeting 4 - 09/21/2016
 Meeting 5 - 10/18/2016
 Meeting 6 - 11/29/2016
 Meeting 7 - 02/08/2017
 Meeting 8 - 05/22/2017


Reports having no URL can be seen
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Developing a Smarter National Surveillance System for Occupational Safety and Health in the 21st Century