This is my first post about exploring free public data sources. Knowledge really is powerful and knowing how people get injured is important in order to learn from it and avoid future accidents.

What Is It?

The NEISS (National Electronic Injury Surveillance System) is part of United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here is a description from their website:

CPSC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) is a national probability sample of hospitals in the U.S. and its territories. Patient information is collected from each NEISS hospital for every emergency visit involving an injury associated with consumer products. From this sample, the total number of product-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide can be estimated. This web access to NEISS allows certain estimates to be retrieved on-line. These estimates can be focused by setting some or all of the following variables (and an example of each)

 

Injury Examples

It’s really horrible how injuries can affect our lives. Even the simplest things can lead to an accident so be careful!

  • 45 YR OLD FEMALE ‘S FOOT FELL ASLEEP AND STOOD UP AND FELL STRIKING WOO D FLOOR WITH FACE AND FX NOSE
  • 22 YR OLD MALE DOING WEIGHT LIFTING PRESS AND LOST CONTROL OF IT AND IT FELL ONTO FACE LAC FACE AND SCALP
  • 50 YR OLD MALE UNDER TABLE CHASING CAT;NECK POPPED WITH MUSCLE SPASM TO BACK
  • 57YF WAS WALKING UPSTAIRS CARRYING HER DOG WHEN LOST BALANCE&FELL DOWN 6 STEPS>>TIBIA FX
  • 87YOF TRIPPED OVER AN EXTENSION CORD AND FELL STRUCK BACK OF HEAD ON A TABLE LACERATION TO SCALP

 

What Can We Download?

  1. Download a full sample in the bottom right hand corner (i.e. “2014 NEISS Data“) or
  2. Click one of the orange “Query NEISS” buttons at the bottom of the page to create a custom search (which is downloadable)

The site mentions later on that it’s important to understand the codes in order to fully understand the data. Go to page 12 in the ‘NEISS Coding Manual PDF to see a table with the body part description for each ‘Body_Part’ code.

 

How Big Are the Files?

The NEISS-data-2014-updated-12MAY2015 Excel file is 44.9 MB and has 367492 rows X 18 columns. The size of a custom search obviously depends on the parameters that you select.

 

Is It Too Much Data?

I often get asked about the limitations of Excel. How much data can Excel handle? Can I add an array formula alongside the raw data? Well…it depends on several factors including: memory and processing power of your laptop, the version of Excel you’re using, 32-bit versus 64, etc.

The NEISS-data-2014-updated-12MAY2015 file mentioned above is almost 45 MB of pure raw data. If you start adding a lot of formulas and pivots it will become larger and slower and eventually freeze and crash. The best advice that I can give you is to play around with this file to get the feel for how big and slow it gets (save & close other important files first). HINT: Don’t create an array formula and double left click to drag it all the way down! The file just crashed on me when I tried to use a filter. I should have known better! Use Excel’s Find feature instead of filtering.

 

How Clean Is The Data?

Overall it looks very clean. However, I really doubt that 215 year old male fell from a slide or a 220 year old female fell from a swing. It appears that it should be 15 month male and 20 month female.

 

Homework

Your homework is to analyze the data. Create questions to answer like “How much do different body part injuries vary over time?“. Use features like Pivots, Sparklines, and Conditional Formatting to gain insights. Leave your comments below.

 

Post a comment