Development of the Sentinel Health Events (Occupational) (SHEO) list is described, and its uses are reviewed. Lack of recognition among physicians and pathologists of occupationally related illnesses is discussed. Two needs are identified: the need to develop a table of occupational diseases usable as a framework to assist the practicing physician in diagnosis and therapy, and the need to increase the number of states that code industrial and occupational data on records. The SHEO list was developed to meet the first need. A SHEO is an unnecessary disease, disability, or death that is occupationally related and whose occurrence may provide the impetus for epidemiological or industrial hygiene studies or serve as a warning signal that materials substitution, engineering control, personal protection, or medical care may be required. The SHEO list was developed to meet three criteria: documentation of associated agents, involved industries, and involved occupations. The list contains 50 disease conditions linked to the workplace, arranged by ascending International Classification of Diseases code number, with examples of industries affected and agents involved. Uses of the table as a routine surveillance tool, as an information source for the practicing physician, and as a periodically updated compendium of occupationally related diseases are considered. The authors recommend the list for all these uses, but particularly for researchers for whom the list can provide insight into priority setting and decision making in occupational safety and health research.