How Job-Related Data Benefits You

Use the Worker Health Charts to learn how work affects health. Worker Health Charts allows users to chart hard-to-find work-related health data. Anyone can use this free web application to learn about work-related safety and health.

Researcher using worker health charts to learn about work-related lead exposure

How Worker Health Charts can answer your job safety and health questions

There are many things that cause sickness and injuries. We can get sick when our kids bring home a virus, sprain our ankles when we fall down the back porch steps, or feel stressed when we buy and sell a house. But, we often forget that our jobs can also take a toll on our:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Social well-being

The workplace may expose you to many types of hazards:

  • biological (e.g., viruses)
  • chemical (e.g., pesticides)
  • physical (e.g., falls)
  • psychosocial (e.g., job stress)

Some industries and occupations are more hazardous than others. Research helps identify and confirm new and ongoing workplace hazards. There are many data sources that regularly collect information on work-related health data. However, these data sources may be difficult to find and hard to understand. But, what if you could go to one website to access many of these data sources?

And what if the data were shown in a way that you could quickly look at the information and interpret it?

Worker Health Charts is a web application created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  This charting tool allows users to chart worker health information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources of work-related exposure data.

It was created for many types of users, all with a main purpose in mind – “How can people better use worker health data to understand what’s happening in their workplace?”

Worker Health Charts can be used by anyone. It allows quick analysis of work-related safety and health data that may be difficult to find or are not charted elsewhere. Users select from dropdown options to create work-related charts that show rates, distribution, and trends in safety and health topics.

How different people can use Worker Health Charts

We each have a different reason for why we seek information on a topic.  Below, we describe how three different groups of people may use Worker Health Charts:

  • Researchers and  Public Health Professionals
  • Employers and Workers
  • General Public

Researchers and Public Health Professionals

Researchers and public health professionals are constantly looking at data to identify emerging public health problems. They can use worker health charts to describe worker safety and health trends.

For example:

Dr. Jane Smith, an epidemiologist in Florida, is interested in work-related lead exposure. She uses Worker Health Charts to look at the trend of work-related lead poisoning cases among adults from 2002-2012. She sees that lead poisoning cases went down from 2002 to 2007, but went up from 2007 to 2012.  She is concerned about this shift in pattern and contacts the local health department to explore why lead poisoning cases have been increasing.

Chart showing trends in work-related lead poisoning cases among adults from 2002-2012. Cases decreased from 2002 to 2007, but increased from 2007 to 2012.

Employers and Workers

Employers and workers might use the Worker Health Charts to gain insight on how the rate of injuries compares between their personal worksite and others in their industry.

For example:

Jim manages a manufacturing plant that makes office furniture using plywood and other engineered wood products. He wants to know if the rate of severe injuries his worksite is experiencing is high compared to injuries occurring at other office furniture manufacturing plants. Using Worker Health Charts, he finds the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show injuries to the trunk, including the chest, abdomen, etc., were most common among workers in wood office furniture manufacturing. In looking through his injury logs, Jim notices most of his employee injuries occur to the lower extremities, such as the legs, knees, ankles and feet, not the trunk like the BLS data indicate. Jim begins to feel increasing concern.  He contacts an occupational safety and health consultant to help him determine why his plant is experiencing high rates of lower extremities injuries, and how his company could reduce these injuries.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show injuries to the trunk, including the chest, abdomen, etc., were most common among workers in wood office furniture manufacturing in 2015.

Learn more about this scenario used in our Science Blog.

General Public

Whether you are job hunting, choosing a major for college, or working on a research project, Worker Health Charts can provide useful information about jobs and health in America.

For example:

Jennifer is a high school senior taking a health education class. Her teacher wants each student to create a health campaign on a topic they are interested in. Jennifer has always been interested in public health, particularly workers’ health. She decides to create posters to warn workers of the dangers of second-hand smoke exposure in the workplace. She uses Worker Health Charts to gather information to help her figure out what jobs have the highest level of second-hand smoke.  Charting second-hand smoke data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), she learns that second-hand smoke seems to be highest among:

  • construction workers
  • protective services (e.g. police officers)
  • transportation and material movers (e.g. truck drivers)

She also finds that second-hand smoke is most common among workers ages 18-29 years old. Because her brother works in construction, she decides to create an ad campaign that focuses on young construction workers to reduce smoking at the worksite.

Prevalence of workplace secondhand smoke exposure among non-smokers by age, 2015; second-hand smoke was most common among workers ages 18-29 years old.

How to find Worker Health Charts

The Worker Health Charts tool is available for free!

Learn more about how Worker Health Charts can be used by visiting our blog

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Page last reviewed: June 25, 2018
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