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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2014

Epidemiological and performance indicators for occupational health services: a feasibility study in Belgium

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2014
Lode Godderis, Kristien Johannik, Godewina Mylle, Simon Bulterys, Guido Moens
Wichtige Hinweise

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.

Competing interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

LG: carried out the study and drafted the manuscript. KJ: preformed the statistical analysis and provided help with the drafting of the manuscript. GMy: was involved in the literature review and the selection process of indicators. SB: was involved in the feasibility study: recruitment, data acquisition and interpretation of data. GM: contributed in the conception, design and coordination of the study; and drafting of the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



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.
Additional file 1: Full list of epidemiological and performance indicators for external, internal and mixed OHS providers.(DOCX 101 KB)
Additional file 2: Performance evaluation sheet for external OHS providers (including indicators, ratios and formulas).(XLS 84 KB)
Authors’ original file for figure 1
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