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OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SAFETY NETWORK (OHSN)

two occupational safety and health nurses using OHSN to identify injury trends among their healthcare workers

Frequently Asked Questions: Using OHSN

Within this page, you will find some of our most frequently asked questions. This list will be updated with new questions as needed. If you have other questions not addressed here, contact us at NIOSHOHSN@cdc.gov or 513-841-4337.

If I use a commercial software to log my facility’s injury data, what do I need to do to get my data ready to upload into OHSN?

If you use a commercial software to record your facility’s traumatic injury, sharps injury, and blood and body fluid exposures, you will need to export your data to an Excel file or any other structured format (i.e. CSV, delimited text, etc.). Then you can login to OHSN and upload your data so it can be mapped by the OHSN team. To learn more about this process, see the OHSN User Manual or contact us at NIOSHOHSN@cdc.gov.

If I use Excel to log my facility’s injury and/or exposure data, what do I need to do to get my data ready to upload into OHSN?

If your injury and/or exposure data is recorded in an Excel file, you simply need to login to OHSN and upload your raw data (minus any personally identifiable information) so that it can be mapped by the OHSN team.  To learn more about this process, see the OHSN User Manual or contact us at NIOSHOHSN@cdc.gov.

If I use EPINET to log my facility’s sharps injury and blood and body fluid exposure data, what do I need to do to get my data ready to upload into OHSN?

Once you record your injuries into EPINet, you will need to use the “OHSN Export Blood and Body Fluid and Needlestick” feature* to export your data.  Once your EPINet data has been exported into the MDB (Microsoft Access Database) file, you simply need to login to OHSN and upload the file(s) so that the submission can be processed by the OHSN team. To learn more about this process, see the OHSN User Manual or contact us at NIOSHOHSN@cdc.gov.

(*NOTE: For EPINet users not using the latest version of EPINet downloaded from the OHSN website, you will need to use both the “Blood and Body Fluid” and “Needlestick and Sharp Object” export features under the Import/Export → Export with Names Removed tab to generate 2 separate MDB (Microsoft Access Database) files for uploading into OHSN).

If I do not have my data in a commercial software, what should I do to get my data ready to upload into OHSN?

If you do not currently use Excel or other software to record your facility’s injury or exposure data, you will need to download the NIOSH-provided Excel file to enter your data. Once you have entered your data, login to OHSN and upload the Excel file so that it can be processed by the OHSN team.

If you decide to track only exposures (sharps injuries and blood and body fluid exposures), you may use EPINet instead of the NIOSH-provided Excel file (Don’t have EPINET? Download it free).

Where can I learn more about standardizing my local terms to the terms OHSN uses?

This information is found in our Standard Occupational Data Architecture (SODA) . The SODA document describes all OHSN data elements to help with the process of standardizing your local terms to the terms used in OHSN. If you need further help with standardizing your terms to terms used in OHSN, or if you do not understand the terms, the OHSN team is happy to provide assistance.  Please contact us at NIOSHOHSN@cdc.gov and we can schedule a conference call or a web-based seminar to answer any questions.

If I have problems standardizing my local terms to terms used in OHSN, can NIOSH help?

Yes! The OHSN team is dedicated to providing timely help regarding any issue that may arise during the matching or “mapping” process. If you need further help with standardizing your terms to terms used in OHSN, or if do not understand the terms, review our Standard Occupational Data Architecture (SODA) document. This document provides all terms as well as definitions that we use during the mapping process. We also provide help via email, conference call, or potentially a web-based seminar.

How often must data be submitted to OHSN?

OHSN requires at least 6 months of data to be submitted during a 12 month period to be considered an active module participants.  There are two situations in which you may not be submitting data in a given time period:

  1. If you had no injury events during that period: The Drop Down box under the Status Bar includes an option for No Events OccurredIt is important to document that no events occurred at your facility(s) because it could be an indication that your interventions are working.
  2. If you cannot submit data in that period: The Drop Down box under the Status column includes an option for Not Participating.

How quickly can I view data I submit?

We recommend that you submit data to OHSN once a month. However, you can also choose to submit data on a quarterly basis.

Can historical data be submitted to OHSN?

While submitting historical data is not required, you can submit this data to OHSN if you wish. By adding historical data you may be able to evaluate longer term trends for injuries and exposures.

Can commercial software export to OHSN?

Not yet. We are working with commercial software vendors to incorporate exportable OHSN reports directly into future versions of their software. Vendors that have been in communication with OHSN include:

The NIOSH Standard Occupational Data Architecture (SODA) document guides commercial and noncommercial occupational health surveillance software developers on ways to incorporate OHSN data requirements into their existing applications.

Talk to your software vendors and let them know that you are eager to work with OHSN. If they would like to learn more about OHSN software compatibility for commercial software, contact us at NIOSHOHSN@cdc.gov or 513-841-4337.

Why did OHSN expand to allow facilities to monitor exposure incidents?

The ability to monitor exposure incidents was created in response to stakeholder demand. OHSN will allow facilities to track blood and body fluid exposures and needlestick/sharps injuries. We hope that allowing for better monitoring of these exposures, facilities can decrease the amount of needlestick and blood and body fluid exposures injuries.

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