Occupation and industry on death certificates of long‐term chemical workers: Concordance with work history records

Geary W. Olsen, Jack Brondum, Kenneth M. Bodner, Brandi A. Kravat, Jack S. Mandel, Jeffrey H. Mandel, Gregory G. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the concordance between occupation and industry listed on death certificates with actual work history information for a group (n = 5,882) of long‐term (10 years or more) workers at a chemical company. Match rates were calculated as the percent of death certificate occupation and company entries that were confirmed by work history data using 3‐digit 1980 U.S. Census Bureau group codes. The concordance rate for industry differed by employment status at death: employed, 94.9%; inactive, 30.8%; and retired, 91.1%. Concordance on occupation was analyzed for employed (n = 467) and retired (n = 932) subjects who had computerized work histories (randomly done prior to the study) and who had matched on the company on the death certificate. Concordance ranged from 0 to 50% for the first job, to 50 to 70% for the last job, longest job, and longest job in the last 10 years of company employment. The most consistent predictor of concordance was job duration. Misclassification was reviewed by occupational category. Results from this and other investigations lead to the inevitable conclusion that usual occupation data from death certificates are grossly inadequate for studies of occupational risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-481
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


  • death certificate data
  • epidemiologic methods
  • neoplasms
  • occupational epidemiology


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