A discussion was provided of a uniform surveillance system covering the entire United States that allowed researchers to quantify the magnitude and secular trends of a particular health effect (such as occupational injuries), allowed public health professionals to measure and monitor the progress being made to reduce or eliminate hazards, and allowed regional or even state specific problems to be pinpointed and addressed. NIOSH has created the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) data base to provide a uniform work related fatal injury surveillance system for coverage of all industrial sectors, including agriculture. NIOSH researchers have used the NTOF to calculate national work related mortality rates. Although broad in both its scope and in the worker population it covers, the NTOF has certain limitations. One major limitation has been the lack of coverage of juvenile workers under the age of 16 years. Another concern has been whether the NTOF includes all traumatic occupational fatalities. Even so, the author concludes that the NTOF provides a uniform system that allows general surveillance of traumatic occupational fatalities for all industrial divisions in the United States.
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