OSH-8 Reduce occupational skin diseases or disorders among full-time workers

National Data Source
Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII); Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (DOL/BLS)
Changed Since the Healthy People 2020 Launch
per 10,000 
Baseline (Year)
4.4 (2008)
Target-Setting Method
10 percent improvement
Number of reported nonfatal illnesses due to work-related skin disease and disorders
Total number of hours worked by workers
Data Collection Frequency
Comparable Healthy People 2010 Objective
Retained from HP2010 objective


Methodology Notes

Skin diseases or disorders are illnesses involving the worker's skin that are caused by work exposure to chemicals, plants or other substances. Examples include: contact dermatitis, eczema, or rash caused by primary irritants and sensitizers or poisonous plants; oil acne; friction blisters, chrome ulcers; and inflammation of the skin. The SOII is a cooperative Federal–State program in which employer reports of occupational injuries and illnesses based on OSHA recordkeeping rules are collected from a nationally representative sample of private industry establishments.

For the first time in 2008, the SOII provided national public sector estimates covering nearly 19 million state and local government workers. The survey excludes the self-employed, farms with fewer than 11 employees, private household workers, and employees in Federal government agencies.

The incidence rates represent the number of illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers and were calculated as: (N/EH) x 20,000,000, where N= number of illnesses, EH=total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year, and 20,000,000=base for 10,000 equivalent full-time workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year. Information on the type of industry for the numerator is based on employer responses and converted to North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

Although reported occupational skin diseases or disorders (OSDs) have been reduced by approximately 50% over the last 10 years, they still represent one of the most frequently reported classes of occupational illnesses. OSDs occur in all industries and were the second leading cause of occupational illness in 2008.

Caveats and Limitations
Recent reports, including a 2009 GAO report, have questioned the completeness and accuracy of the employer reports included in SOII. BLS is conducting research to address the potential undercount in SOII, and the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recently begun research to increase understanding of barriers and incentives for workers to report injuries. Additionally, in October 2009, OSHA began a program to emphasize recordkeeping, including having OSHA inspectors review occupational injury and illness records prepared by businesses.

References and More Information

  1. BLS [2009]. Survey of occupational injuries and illnesses. Nonfatal (OSHA recordable) injuries and illnesses. Industry incidence rates and counts. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Safety and Health Statistics Program. See News Release USDL 09-1302, October 29, 2009.
  2. DOL. News Release. U.S. Labor Department's OSHA begins National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping to determine accuracy of worker injury and illness data. Washington, DC: Department of Labor, OSHA, October 1, 2009, O0-775-NAT. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=16488
  3. Government Accounting Office. Workplace safety and health: Enhancing OSHA's records audit process could improve the accuracy of worker injury and illness data. October 2009, GA)-10-10. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1010.pdf00910.pdf
  4. Ruser J. Examining evidence on whether BLS undercounts workplace injuries and illnesses. Monthly Labor Review, August 2008:20-32.http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2008/08/art2full.pdf