Under-reporting of occupational diseases is an important issue worldwide. The collection of reliable data is essential for prevention programmes. Little is known about the effects of interventions for increasing the reporting of occupational diseases.Methods
We searched the Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, OSH UPDATE, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), Open-SIGLE, and Health Evidence until January 2015. We also checked reference lists of relevant articles and contacted study authors.Results
We included 12 studies. Six studies evaluated the effectiveness of educational materials alone; one study evaluated the effectiveness of educational meetings; and four studies evaluated a combination of the two in increasing the reporting of occupational diseases by physicians. A further study evaluated the effectiveness of a complex educational campaign acting at society level. We found that the use of educational materials did not considerably increase the number of physicians reporting occupational diseases, but a legal obligation reminder message did. Furthermore, we found that the use of educational materials did not considerably increase the rate of reporting occupational diseases. Similarly, we found that the use of both educational materials and meetings did not considerably increase the number of physicians reporting occupational diseases or the rate of reporting. The same holds for the use of educational meetings alone. The use of an educational campaign appeared to increase the number of physicians reporting occupational diseases, although this was based on very low-quality evidence.Discussion
The studies provide evidence that educational materials, educational meetings, or a combination of the two do not considerably increase the reporting of occupational diseases. The use of a reminder message on the legal obligation to report might provide some positive results. We need high-quality RCTs to corroborate these findings.