The Massachusetts Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (MASS SENSOR) receives reports of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome (WR-CTS) cases from (1) workers' compensation (WC) disability claims for 5 or more lost work days; and (2) physician reports (PR).
From 1992 through 1997, 1,330 WC cases and 571 PR cases completed follow-back surveys to provide information on industry, occupation, attributed source of WR-CTS, outcomes, and employer intervention practices.
Sixty-four percent of the respondents had bilateral CTS and 61% had surgery, both of which were proportionally more frequent among WC cases. Office and business machinery was the leading source of WR-CTS (42% of classifiable sources) in every economic sector except construction, followed by hand tools (20%). Managers and professional specialty workers were the most likely to report employers' interventions and were up to four times more likely to report equipment or work environment changes than higher risk groups.
State-based surveillance data on the source of WR-CTS provided valuable information on how and where to implement interventions. New occurrences of WR-CTS are likely, especially in the highest risk industries where very few cases reported primary prevention measures (e.g., changes to equipment or work environment) implemented by their employers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 45:139–152, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.