An overview was presented of the Occupational Health Supplement (OHS), an extension to the 1988 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) resulting from joint efforts of NIOSH and other government agencies. The OHS was the first government effort to provide significant data on workplace injuries, dermatitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, and lung disease. Also obtained through the OHS was data on the prevalence of smoking in different occupational groups, the discomfort caused by environmental tobacco smoke, and the association between heavy drinking and occupational injury. The OHS employed a scientific method for estimating parameters for the entire US workforce, and also collected information on lifestyle and demographics. Results reported through the OHS were gathered from self reported data, and were potentially subject to overreporting or underreporting. The information provided through the OHS was particularly valuable given the lack of a comprehensive occupational illness surveillance system in the United States.