Frequently Asked Questions

Work-RISQS Results

Data Limitations

Data Comparability

Privacy Issues


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What is Work-RISQS?

Work-RISQS is an interactive query system that allows users to create customized data requests to report the number of work-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) based on temporal, demographic, nature of injury, and type of injury incident.

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What is the data source for Work-RISQS?

The Work-RISQS data are collected by NIOSH through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—Occupational Supplement (NEISS-Work), a probability-based sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments. Work-RISQS is simply an online tool to access the NEISS-Work data.

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What injuries are counted in Work-RISQS?

Per NEISS-Work data collection rules an injury must be:

  • work-related
  • nonfatal
  • treated in a U.S. hospital emergency department
  • incurred by a civilian worker

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What is a work-related injury?

NEISS-Work defines an injury as work-related if it occurred from doing:

  • Work for pay or other compensation
  • Work activities on a farm or ranch
  • Work as a volunteer for an organized group (e.g., volunteer fire dept.)

Click here for more detailed guidelines.

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Are Work-RISQS cases reportable under OSHA recordkeeping rules?

Yes, in most cases. NIOSH uses the OSHA recordkeeping rules as guidelines for identifying work-related cases in hospital ED medical records. However, the NEISS-Work work-related criteria are tailored to the information available in medical records resulting in a broader scope including identifying injured workers who may not be within OSHA’s jurisdiction.

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Are the results reported by Work-RISQS national estimates?

Yes. The data collected through NEISS-Work are based on a national hospital sample with a statistical weight assigned to each case. By summing the statistical weight for all cases within the hospital sample, we produce a national estimate of the number of work-related injuries treated in all U.S. hospital EDs.

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What is the injury estimate confidence interval?

The 95% confidence interval is a statistical assessment of the reliability of the injury estimate. For Work-RISQS, this means that if we took different random samples of all U.S. hospitals we would obtain an injury estimate that falls within the confidence interval range at least 95% of the time.

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Why do my query results not list all possible subcategories for the parameters that I have selected?

Work-RISQS does not display query parameter subcategories when the results do not meet minimum reporting requirements. This commonly occurs when the injury or worker subcategory characteristic is rare or localized to a few hospitals.

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What type of injury cases does Work-RISQS exclude?

First, Work-RISQS only reports cases captured through the NEISS-Work program, that is occupational injuries treated in U.S. hospital EDs. It does NOT include injuries treated in doctors' offices, occupational medicine clinics, or other medical venues outside of a hospital emergency department nor does it include injuries to active duty military or reservists in training. Also Work-RISQS only reports cases that meet the NEISS-Work definitions of work-related injuries. Thus, routine drug and alcohol screenings and conditions with no recognized work-related cause are excluded.

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Can I get injury estimates by state or region?

No. Estimates are only available for the nation as a whole.

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Can I get data by occupation or industry?

No. At this time, occupation and industry data are not available at Work-RISQS.

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How do data for other NEISS programs differ from the NEISS-Work data used by Work-RISQS?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains the basic National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) and collects data supplements for other federal agencies. For the basic NEISS, CPSC uses a larger hospital sample than the supplemental programs. CPSC reports on consumer product injuries and illnesses that are non-work related and that are mutually exclusive from NEISS-Work cases. Other NEISS supplemental programs such as the NEISS—All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) serve different purposes and have different case definitions.

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Why do Work-RISQS estimates differ from published estimates that used the same data?

Published estimates of work-related injuries that used NEISS-Work data may have been prepared with early data versions, subsets of the Work-RISQS' data that were more rigorously edited or restricted in scope, or reporting practices and procedures may have differed.

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How do Work-RISQS data differ from BLS occupational injury & illness data?

Annually, the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). The SOII is an employer-based survey capturing data from employers' OSHA logs of injuries and illnesses "that result in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond first aid." Historically the SOII only surveyed private industry employers, and excluded government workers along with self-employed, household workers, and workers on small farms. Beginning in 2008, the SOII captured injuries and illnesses among state and local government workers as well. Total recordable injuries are reported by detailed industry categories. Injury and illness, incident characteristics, and worker demographics are only reported for cases involving one or more days away from work. The SOII provides annual estimates of occupational injuries and illnesses that required medical treatment but are not restricted to a particular medical venue such as an ED. Estimated injury and illness rates from the BLS SOII are based on worker population estimates from the survey itself. The NEISS-Work data queried through Work-RISQS rely on data from only one medical venue, but have no restrictions by industry, class of worker, or days away from work. NIOSH uses employed labor estimates from an independent household survey, the Current Population Survey, for the NEISS-Work rate denominator.

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Are there privacy restrictions on Work-RISQS data?

Yes. Work-RISQS data can be used for aggregate statistical reporting and analysis only. The data reports available through Work-RISQS are for public use and do not include personal information that would identify an individual. Because release of an individual's identity or health-related information is expressly prohibited by the Privacy Act and other applicable laws, no microdata files are publicly available.

Page last reviewed: September 23, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Safety Research