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If it's not counted it didn't happen!
  1. David H Wegman1,
  2. Christer Hogstedt2
  1. 1Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr David H Wegman, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, USA; david_wegman{at}uml.edu

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In this information age we are increasingly dependent on having adequate and timely data appropriate to inform decisions and action. In fact, there is good reason to worry about the old adage that “if it is not counted it didn't happen”. This concern has prompted focus on the need to modernise occupational health surveillance.1–4 Fundamental to effective occupational health surveillance and priorities for prevention are an effective characterisation of the hazards faced by the full population of workers and trends over time in prevalence of those hazards. The best recognised effort in this regard is the European Foundation’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) recently completing its fifth iteration.5 This has proved an invaluable resource for the European Union nations’ need to understand the distribution of risks among the workforce in member countries. The findings and trends provide the European Union as well as member nations an invaluable foundation for planning prevention efforts. Ongoing analyses and publications using this resource also provide opportunities for …

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