In many European countries, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) providers report their activities and results annually. Ideally, this report should offer an overview of their activities and of the outcome regarding occupational health and safety. To establish a set of epidemiological and performance indicators for electronic reporting of data that can be used for OHS surveillance and prevention purposes. Consequently, the selected data can serve as indicators for exposure to and prevention of occupational risks (epidemiology), and contribute to the evaluation of the functioning (performance) of OHS providers.
An extensive literature search in combination with an investigation of existing reporting models was performed. The resulting list of potential indicators was assessed by different stakeholders and divided into indicators for epidemiology and for performance. Then in a feasibility study, the relevance and availability of the indicators were assessed in 17 external, 49 internal (in company) and 10 mixed OHS providers.
From the literature survey, we obtained 1100 indicators. After validation, 257 were taken into account in the feasibility study. An indicator was considered relevant when more than 2/3 of the respondents answered in favour of the indicator. The same criterion was applied for availability. Respectively, 82% and 62% of the performance and epidemiological indicators were considered to be relevant for external OHS providers. All relevant performance indicators were available. Of the epidemiological data, only 53% were available. Remarkably, internal OHS providers assessed fewer indicators as relevant (29% and 27% of performance and epidemiology indicators respectively), but these were mostly all available (90%).
This study shows that it is possible to provide a snapshot of the state of OHS by means of the registration of data. These findings could be used to build a data warehouse to study national health and safety profiles and to develop a uniform report for all European countries.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-410) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.