Center for Workers' Comp Studies Announced

NIOSH's Director Dr. John Howard said the new center will encourage collaboration of the agency's scientists with insurers and other organizations.

A new coordinating Center for Workers' Compensation Studies is being created within the NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, agency Director Dr. John Howard announced. He wrote that it will encourage collaboration of NIOSH scientists with insurers and other private and public sector organizations to reach goals related to surveillance of and research on occupational injury and illness.

Howard listed these goals:

  • Identifying trends in work-related injuries-illnesses
  • Understanding the use and limits of workers’ compensation information
  • Integrating workers' compensation data with other health-related data
  • Understanding the total economic impact of work-related injury-illness
  • Identifying ways to prevent and reduce the severity of work-related injury-illness
  • Developing best practices for prevention and disability management

"NIOSH is excited about its new Center because it will work to organize workers’ compensation analyses by NIOSH researchers across a wide range of industries," he explained. "This is important because coordinated workers’ compensation research has been conducted mostly at large commercial insurers, state-based insurers, or industry organizations, which have not always distributed their data or research findings widely. Although these systems represent one of the largest, potentially richest information sources for safety and health, research using such data for prevention purposes has been limited. In part, this may be due to the fact that the agencies and insurers collecting these data do so within their mission of administering workers' compensation benefits, and research is not one of their traditional functions. There may also be reasons related to the proprietary nature of the data."

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