Nonresponse Bias in the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

Erin M. Huband and Patrick A. Bobbitt


The Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses collects data to estimate the counts and rates of work-related injuries and illnesses. Participation by private sector employers is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. For state and local government establishments, however, state laws determine whether the survey is mandatory. While private sector response rates reflect the mandatory nature of the survey, response rates for states in which public sector response is voluntary are low. To determine whether the survey suffers from bias attributable to non-response, government units were classified as either “likely“ or “unlikely“ respondents using a logistic regression model. Counts and rates of injuries and illnesses for these groups were then compared to provide an indication of potential nonresponse bias. This paper describes the methodology used for this analysis and presents some preliminary results from the analysis.