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Surveillance of occupational skin diseases: a method utilizing workers' compensation claims.

Mathias CG; Sinks TH; Seligman PJ; Halperin WE
Am J Ind Med 1990; 17(3):363-370
Workers' Compensation claims (WCC) made over a 5 year period were reviewed to ascertain their suitability for surveillance of occupational skin diseases. Data were obtained from the Division of Safety and Hygiene of the Industrial Commission of Ohio, and included demographic information, lost work days, employer Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), and nature of illness or injury for each claim. Cases were extracted from this data base from claims filed for dermatitis, which captured all occupational skin diseases except skin cancer. Annual mean WCC rates were calculated for each SIC and used to rank the SIC strata for hazard. Risk was also assessed by stratifying companies by SIC and number of claims, and occupation and causal agent. Over the 5 year period, a total of 4,214 WCC were filed for occupational skin diseases, yielding a mean annual WCC rate for these diseases of 2.4 per 10,000 workers. A total of 2,610 Ohio companies reported WCC; 63% of these had a filing rate above the state average. Of the 2,610, 102 filed at least six WCC, 82% of which were in SICs with higher than average WCC. Ninety eight percent of companies in SICs with low WCC reported fewer than six claims. Of the 102 companies reporting at least six WCC, 63.7% identified the same causal agent or occupation in at least 50% of the reported WCC. The authors conclude that state WCC data are useful for surveillance of occupational skin diseases to identify high risk occupations and companies.
NIOSH-Author; Dermatology; Disease-incidence; Epidemiology; Skin-diseases; Industrial-dermatoses; Occupational-health-services; Occupational-dermatitis; Surveillance-programs; Worker-health
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Journal Article
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: October 8, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division