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October 2005, Vol. 128, No. 10
Occupational safety and health statistics: new data for a new century
William J. Wiatrowski
At the beginning of the 21st century, there are new ways of categorizing populations—a new industry classification structure, a new occupation classification structure, new race and ethnicity categories, and new definitions of geographic areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is adopting these new and revised classification systems throughout its programs, including the occupational safety and health statistics program. Data on occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for 2003 and beyond are based on these new systems. In addition, changes to definitions used by employers to record injuries and illnesses, and the identification of new or emerging injuries and illnesses, result in occupational safety and health data that are different from the past. These new data help to illuminate the safety and health picture of special populations, many of which are described more precisely under the new classification systems.
If one were trying to understand a workplace injury in 1905, he or she might learn the following:
Worker was employed on a farm
Worker’s occupation was "agricultural pursuits"
Worker was classified in the 1900 Census into one of three race categories: black, white, mulatto
Worker’s job was located in Concord, New Hampshire, which is in Merrimack County
Moving ahead 100 years, the workplace injury in 2005 might have the following characteristics:
Worker is employed in the Web search portal industry
Worker’s occupation is a database administrator
Worker is identified as being of multiple races
Worker’s job is located in Concord, New Hampshire, in the Boston-Worchester-Manchester Combined Metropolitan Area
This excerpt is from an article published in the October 2005 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
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