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      Global Estimates of the Burden of Injury and Illness at Work in 2012


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          This article reviews the present indicators, trends, and recent solutions and strategies to tackle major global and country problems in safety and health at work. The article is based on the Yant Award Lecture of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at its 2013 Congress. We reviewed employment figures, mortality rates, occupational burden of disease and injuries, reported accidents, surveys on self-reported occupational illnesses and injuries, attributable fractions, national economic cost estimates of work-related injuries and ill health, and the most recent information on the problems from published papers, documents, and electronic data sources of international and regional organizations, in particular the International Labor Organization (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO), and European Union (EU), institutions, agencies, and public websites. We identified and analyzed successful solutions, programs, and strategies to reduce the work-related negative outcomes at various levels. Work-related illnesses that have a long latency period and are linked to ageing are clearly on the increase, while the number of occupational injuries has gone down in industrialized countries thanks to both better prevention and structural changes. We have estimated that globally there are 2.3 million deaths annually for reasons attributed to work. The biggest component is linked to work-related diseases, 2.0 million, and 0.3 million linked to occupational injuries. However, the division of these two factors varies depending on the level of development. In industrialized countries the share of deaths caused by occupational injuries and work-related communicable diseases is very low while non-communicable diseases are the overwhelming causes in those countries. Economic costs of work-related injury and illness vary between 1.8 and 6.0% of GDP in country estimates, the average being 4% according to the ILO. Singapore's economic costs were estimated to be equivalent to 3.2% of GDP based on a preliminary study. If economic losses would take into account involuntary early retirement then costs may be considerably higher, for example, in Finland up to 15% of GDP, while this estimate covers various disorders where work and working conditions may be just one factor of many or where work may aggravate the disease, injury, or disorders, such as traffic injuries, mental disorders, alcoholism, and genetically induced problems. Workplace health promotion, services, and safety and health management, however, may have a major preventive impact on those as well. Leadership and management at all levels, and engagement of workers are key issues in changing the workplace culture. Vision Zero is a useful concept and philosophy in gradually eliminating any harm at work. Legal and enforcement measures that themselves support companies and organizations need to be supplemented with economic justification and convincing arguments to reduce corner-cutting in risk management, and to avoid short- and long-term disabilities, premature retirement, and corporate closures due to mismanagement and poor and unsustainable work life. We consider that a new paradigm is needed where good work is not just considered a daily activity. We need to foster stable conditions and circumstances and sustainable work life where the objective is to maintain your health and work ability beyond the legal retirement age. We need safe and healthy work, for life.

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          Economic burden of occupational injury and illness in the United States.

          The allocation of scarce health care resources requires a knowledge of disease costs. Whereas many studies of a variety of diseases are available, few focus on job-related injuries and illnesses. This article provides estimates of the national costs of occupational injury and illness among civilians in the United States for 2007. This study provides estimates of both the incidence of fatal and nonfatal injuries and nonfatal illnesses and the prevalence of fatal diseases as well as both medical and indirect (productivity) costs. To generate the estimates, I combined primary and secondary data sources with parameters from the literature and model assumptions. My primary sources were injury, disease, employment, and inflation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as costs data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. My secondary sources were the National Academy of Social Insurance, literature estimates of Attributable Fractions (AF) of diseases with occupational components, and national estimates for all health care costs. Critical model assumptions were applied to the underreporting of injuries, wage-replacement rates, and AFs. Total costs were calculated by multiplying the number of cases by the average cost per case. A sensitivity analysis tested for the effects of the most consequential assumptions. Numerous improvements over earlier studies included reliance on BLS data for government workers and ten specific cancer sites rather than only one broad cancer category. The number of fatal and nonfatal injuries in 2007 was estimated to be more than 5,600 and almost 8,559,000, respectively, at a cost of $6 billion and $186 billion. The number of fatal and nonfatal illnesses was estimated at more than 53,000 and nearly 427,000, respectively, with cost estimates of $46 billion and $12 billion. For injuries and diseases combined, medical cost estimates were $67 billion (27% of the total), and indirect costs were almost $183 billion (73%). Injuries comprised 77 percent of the total, and diseases accounted for 23 percent. The total estimated costs were approximately $250 billion, compared with the inflation-adjusted cost of $217 billion for 1992. The medical and indirect costs of occupational injuries and illnesses are sizable, at least as large as the cost of cancer. Workers' compensation covers less than 25 percent of these costs, so all members of society share the burden. The contributions of job-related injuries and illnesses to the overall cost of medical care and ill health are greater than generally assumed. © 2011 Milbank Memorial Fund.
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            Global estimates of occupational accidents

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              Dying for work: The magnitude of US mortality from selected causes of death associated with occupation.

              Deaths due to occupational disease and injury place a heavy burden on society in terms of economic costs and human suffering. We estimate the annual deaths due to selected diseases for which an occupational association is reasonably well established and quantifiable, by calculation of attributable fractions (AFs), with full documentation; the deaths due to occupational injury are then added to derive an estimated number of annual deaths due to occupation. Using 1997 US mortality data, the estimated annual burden of occupational disease mortality resulting from selected respiratory diseases, cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, and hepatitis is 49,000, with a range from 26,000 to 72,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are about 6,200 work-related injury deaths annually. Adding disease and injury data, we estimate that there are a total of 55,200 US deaths annually resulting from occupational disease or injury (range 32,200-78,200). Our estimate is in the range reported by previous investigators, although we have restricted ourselves more than others to only those diseases with well-established occupational etiology, biasing our estimates conservatively. The underlying assumptions and data used to generate the estimates are well documented, so our estimates may be updated as new data emerges on occupational risks and exposed populations, providing an advantage over previous studies. We estimate that occupational deaths are the 8th leading cause of death in the US, after diabetes (64,751) but ahead of suicide (30,575), and greater than the annual number of motor vehicle deaths per year (43,501). Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

                Author and article information

                J Occup Environ Hyg
                J Occup Environ Hyg
                Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
                Taylor & Francis
                14 April 2014
                May 2014
                : 11
                : 5
                : 326-337
                [1 ] Workplace Safety and Health Institute, Singapore
                [2 ] VTT Technical Research Centre, Tampere, Finland
                [3 ] Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to: J. Takala, Workplace Safety and Health Institute, 1500 Bendemeer Road #04-01, Ministry of Manpower Services Centre 339946, Singapore; e-mail: jukka takala@ 123456wshi.gov.sg
                Article © Government of Singapore, Workplace, Safety and Health Institute

                This is an open access article distributed under the Supplemental Terms and Conditions for iOpenAccess articles published in Taylor & Francis journals , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                burden of injury and illness at work,global estimates,mortality,occupational accidents,occupational exposures,work-related disease


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