The sentinel event notification system for occupational risks (SENSOR) under development by NIOSH was described. The program was a cooperative state and federal effort aimed at developing local capability for prevention of selected occupational disorders. It used targeted sources of sentinel providers for recognition and reporting of selected occupational disorders to state surveillance centers (usually state health departments). State centers were responsible for maintenance of targeted reporting, management of reported cases, screening of coworkers, evaluation of potentially causative workplace factors, issuance of specific recommendations for hazard abatement, and development and maintenance of related activities. The two components of the SENSOR system were the sentinel providers and the surveillance center. Creation of the surveillance system was expected to unite currently existing complementary but separate programs and to include other occupational health and safety resources. NIOSH developed a list of conditions for sentinel provider networks. These included conditions that were attributable to work in a high percentage of cases, reasonably frequent, easily diagnosed by practitioners without access to sophisticated tests, of reasonably short latency, and potentially reversible after case identification. Reporting criteria and epidemiologic case definitions were under development. Case analysis was to be done within surveillance centers. Confirmed case reports could produce three types of action: individual case management recommendations, medical evaluations of coworkers, and action directed at specific workplace causes.