Improvement of national reporting, data collection and analysis of occupational accidents and diseases

This report focuses on the importance of national reporting of occupational accidents and diseases and how it can be improved, as well as data collection systems and how the data can be evaluated and analyzed.

This report highlights the need for and the benefits of an improved and effective national system for reporting, data collection and analysis of occupational accidents and diseases. The correlation between effective reporting and prevention strategies is described. The report discusses the economic dimension of targeted prevention strategies and the need for reliable data. Practical recommendations on how to establish a new system or improve an existing one are given on the basis of the experience in the well-proven German system of statutory accident insurance.

The paper describes the necessary definitions and classifications of occupational accidents and diseases, which need to be fixed in the national legislation. It explains some basic principles, for example, the involvement of social partners and the need for a single integrated system for occupational accidents and diseases.

In order to develop standardized instruments like report forms and coding systems, practical examples from long-established systems are included. This is followed by illustrating the requirements and mechanisms a functioning reporting system needs, including a description of the sources and parties for data reporting. Essential elements for the data analysis process are then explained.

A detailed discussion is given on the use of reliable occupational accidents and diseases data by the employers, employees, industries, the competent authorities and the others who have interest in improving workplace safety and health. The paper concludes by giving a special emphasis on extension of the reporting system to cover workers who are often excluded such as those in small and micro enterprises and in the formal economy.