Collecting and Using Industry and Occupation Data
What do these three people have in common?
- A 28-year-old woman has chronic back pain.
- A 52-year-old man has a cough that won’t go away.
- A 17-year-old boy develops a rash on his arms.
What if you knew:
- The woman is a mail carrier for the post office.
- The man volunteers in the elephant house at a local zoo.
- The boy works part-time as a presser for a dry cleaner.
Each of these people have symptoms that could be caused by a variety of things, but job is often overlooked as a possible source of health problems.
Information about a person’s work can help determine if hazards, injuries, or illnesses are higher among certain industries and occupations.
Information on a person’s industry (type of business) and occupation (type of job) help:
Associate specific hazards, injuries, or illnesses with working in certain industries or occupations
Identify workers who may be at higher risk for disease or injury
Identify areas needing more research
Prevent work-related illnesses and injuries and guide interventions
It is important to collect work-related information on case reports and public health surveys so researchers can consider all the factors that may make a person sick.
Before you begin collecting and using industry and occupation information, there are some things to consider to ensure you get the information you need.