1720b Impacts of occupational health service network to reporting occupational diseases

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Abstract

Occupational disease are frequently underreported, therefore their importance in health consequences. This hinders the progress in occupational health and safety. To address this problem, several medical centres and the labour authority of Taiwan founded the Network of Occupational Diseases and Injuries Service (NODIS) for occupational disease and injury services and established a new Internet-based reporting system. The impacts of the Centres for Occupational Disease and Injury Services and their local network hospitals on compensable occupational diseases were analysed, and the distribution of occupational diseases across occupations and industries were described from 2005 to 2016. The NODIS reporting dataset and the National Labour Insurance scheme’s dataset of compensated cases were used. The annual incidence of reported occupational diseases from the NODIS was compared with the annual incidence of compensable occupational diseases from the compensated dataset during the same period. It is found that after the establishment of the NODIS, the two annual incidence rates of reported and compensable occupational disease cases have increased by several folds from 2007 to 2016. The reason for this increased reporting and compensable cases may be the implementation of the new government-funded Internet-based system and increasing availability of hospitals and clinics to provide occupational health services. During the 2008–2016 period, the most frequently reported occupational diseases were carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar disc disorder, upper limb musculoskeletal disorders, and contact dermatitis. It is concluded that the network and reporting system was successful in providing more occupational health services to workers, assisting the diagnosis of compensable occupational diseases, and reducing underreporting of occupational diseases. The experience in Taiwan could serve as an example for other newly developed countries facing under-diagnosis and under-reporting of occupational diseases.

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