In most countries workers can file workers’ compensation claims if they think they suffer from a work-related disease. Based on the rules that apply for their national system they may can their health problem rated an occupational disease and receive compensation. In the Netherlands we do not have such a system. The only way to get officially compensated is claim compensation in court and sue the employer. Nevertheless occupational physicians are obliged to report (suspected) occupational diseases to the Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases. But despite this obligation there is substantial underreporting. That is why we recently started discussions on workers’ reporting work-related illness and disease to create a new source of information on work-related health problems. I am interested to hear you opinion on that subject. So please answer the poll question and comment if you feel like it.
The French national occupational disease surveillance and prevention network (RNV3P) includes the 30 occupational disease consultation centres in university hospitals to which patients are referred for potentially work-related diseases, and an occupational health service.
Analysis of data from 2001 to 2007 (58 777 occupational health reports) showed that referrals increased significantly for asbestos-related diseases, mood disorders and adjustment disorders related to psychological and organisational demands, and for elbow and shoulder disorders related to manual handling.
Referrals significantly decreased for asthma and for rhinitis related to exposure to organic dusts (vegetable or animal) or chemicals, except for cosmetics and cleaning products.
The objective was to assess risk of work-related injuries in an acute care setting while contrasting injuries of aides and nurses. It turned out that aides had higher overall injury rates than nurses for no-lost work time (RR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.1-1.3) and lost work time (RR = 2.8, 95% CI: 2.1-3.8) injuries. The risk of an injury due to lifting was greater among aides compared to nurses for both non-lost work time and lost work time injuries. Injury rates among aides were particularly high in rehabilitation and orthopedics units.
After 2 years of research an writing and the interesting process of submitting and revising my first scientific article, I am proud to announce that it is online now. You can read the full article, because it is open access. The subject is the reporting of occupational diseases by Dutch OPs and the effect of a relatively small intervention trying to improve that.
There are significant differences between the patterns of work-related musculoskeletal disaorders seen by the different specialist groups (occupational physicians – OPs , rheumatologists and general practitioners – GPs).OPs report three times as many back and lower limb conditions. However, OPs and rheumatologists report similar numbers of cases of hand–arm vibration syndrome (12/9%) and ‘vague and ill-defined’ upper limb conditions (16/14%).
Aims: To compare the reported incidence of work-related (WR) MSDs by specialist OPs and specialist rheumatologists and to relate it to self-reported and general practitioners-reported WR MSDs.
Methods: Analysis of data reported to surveillance schemes within The Health and Occupation Reporting (THOR) network and comparison to denominator data derived from the Labour Force Survey and occupational/work activity classifications.
Results: There are significant differences between the patterns of WR MSDs seen by the different specialist groups. Thus OPs report three times as many back and lower limb conditions. However, both specialist groups report similar numbers of cases of hand–arm vibration syndrome (12/9%) and ‘vague and ill-defined’ upper limb conditions (16/14%). The absolute risk of physician reported that WR MSDs increases 5-fold between ages 15–24 and 45–64.
Conclusions: The specialist reporting schemes give an indication of current practice and are useful both to update and to strategically inform planning. The data are amenable, with appropriate statistical analysis, for comparison with self-reporting and to the characterization of risk in broad categories of occupation and work activity.
This study reveals flaws in the existing system of recognition of ODs in Greece, illustrated mainly by the small number of claims for ODDB. Possible explanations are delays in establishing a new widened list of ODs, lack of a unified recording and notification system, lack of motivation on behalf of the patients and the small number of occupational physicians.
This year I have been working on and off on a proposal to get funding for the network we would like to develop. It is called Modernet (Monitoring trends in Occupational Diseases and tracing new and Emerging Risks in a NETwork). It was initiated through the cooperation of the Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases in Amsterdam and the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group of the University of Manchester (UK). On invitation people and institutes from Finland, France, Italy and the Czech Republic joined. Last weeks meeting in Paris was the 3rd meeting since 2007.
Underneath you will find a revised abstract of our proposal for funding
Modernet, a network for development of new techniques for discovering trends in occupational and work-related diseases and tracing new and emerging risks
Occupational diseases (ODs) impose a heavy burden on both workers and employers and represent enormous economic costs. In general the information on incidence and prevalence of occupational diseases is rather poor and fragmented, but in particular, there is an urgent need for new methods and instruments to trace new and emerging occupational health (OH) risks. We want to develop a network for exchange of knowledge on, and setting the basis for comparative evaluation and development of new techniques to enhance the information on trends in ODs, on discovering and validating new OH risks more quickly (data mining, workers’ and physicians’ reporting coupled with novel statistical techniques) and use of modern techniques to discuss and disseminate information (platforms, social media). The network started with centres of excellence in OH in 6 European countries and has the interest of at least 5 more European and other countries. It will organize meetings, initiate collaborative activities and innovation projects, exchange and disseminate information.
We hope to let you know more about us as soon as we aquire some funding to be more present on the web.
T. M. Pal, N. S. de Wilde, M. M. van Beurden, P. J. Coenraads2 and D. P. Bruynzeel
A voluntary surveillance scheme with dermatologists provides valuable data about the distribution of OCD in risk professions and the causal agents. However, it has certain limitations in assessing trends in incidence. Active medical surveillance in populations at risk should be encouraged not only to improve secondary prevention but also to obtain more reliable information about the incidence of OCD. Read the rest of this entry »
Singapore’s Workplace Safety and Health Advisory Committee (WSHAC) released the 2007 WSH Report which shows continued improvements in Singapore’s WSH performance. Statistics show continued decline in workplace fatalities and serious injuries. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and WSHAC also announced priority areas for 2008 in response to trends highlighted in the Report.Report Highlights:
In all categories, the fatality/injury rate per 100,000 employees shows a decline:
Workplace fatality rate fell from 3.1 in 2006 to 2.9 in 2007
Permanent disablement rate fell from 8.5 in 2006 to 7.5 in 2007
Temporary disablement rate fell from 458 in 2006 to 450 in 2007
Occupational disease incidence fell from 33.3 in 2006 to 27.7 in 2007
2008 focus areas of concerns as identified by the report:
To assess the need for quality improvement of diagnosing and reporting of noise-induced occupational hearing loss and occupational adjustment disorder. Performance indicators and criteria for the quality of diagnosing and reporting were developed. Self-assessment questionnaires were sent to all occupational physicians recorded on the Netherlands Centre for Occupational Diseases database.
The mean quality score for diagnosing and reporting was 6.0 (SD: 1.4) for noise-induced occupational hearing loss and 7.9 (SD: 1.5) for occupational adjustment disorder on a scale of 0-10. For noise-induced occupational hearing loss, there was a need for quality improvement of the aspects of medical history, audiometric measurement, clinical diagnosis of the disease and reporting. For occupational adjustment disorder, the assessment of other non-occupational causes needed improvement.
1 Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Knowledge Transfer Team, Kuopio, Finland