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The sampling and reporting processes in OSHA MIS data.

Jones CA; Weld L; Gray W; Greenlee P; Quinn M; Wiarda E
NIOSH 1986 May; :1-60
The unique aspect of the OSHA MIS data is the availability of data on worker exposures to hazardous substances across a wide range of industrial sectors. We are aware of no other opportunity to examine hazardous exposure levels across. such a wide span of plants. A primary current use of the data is to document enforcement actions and violations. We are interested in using the data additionally as a research tool, to understand the behavior of companies and OSHA in the enforcement of health standards. Such analysis would also contribute to its use as a management tool for targeting inspections and for evaluating the impact of current policies and proposed changes. Specific analysis goals include: describing variations in exposures by SIC and size class across time; "guesstimating" total dosage of hazardous substances; and estimating models of agency and company behavior. The primary purpose of this report is to investigate the methodological issues associated with carrying out the above research agenda. In Section B, we propose estimators of the key variables, mean hazardous exposures level and number of individuals exposed for individual workers exposed. A critical methodological issue to be addressed prior to analysis of the model is the relationship between measured exposure levels and "true" exposure levels, where we characterize the "true" levels as estimates based on continuous measurement of exposures through time. The major difficulty posed by MIS data is the apparently non-random process by which the reported data are generated, resulting from their primary function, documentating violations. If the process is non-random, estimates of exposure levels would need to be corrected for the resulting bias.
Data-processing; Information-retrieval-systems; Information-systems; Information-processing; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Risk-analysis
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division