There are a variety of hazards faced by workers across the globe. Many are common to workers in similar occupations or industries in different regions. Others comprehensive study of the occupational burden of disease has been most recently studied as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, headed by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.Methods
The risk factors section of the GBD study uses a population attributable fraction (PAF) approach, combining relative risk estimates from the published literature with estimates of exposure prevalence. The PAFs are applied to estimates of the total number of cases or Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) of a particular disorder to produce estimates of the number of deaths or the overall burden (in DALYs) arising from individual occupational risk factors and groups of risk factors. The included risk factors are a range of carcinogens resulting in cancer; particulate matter, gases and fumes resulting in chronic obstructive lung disease; asthmagens causing asthma; noise causing noise-induced hearing loss; ergonomic risk factors causing low back pain; and injury risk factors resulting in injury.Results
The preliminary results for 2016 suggest that the largest burden in terms of deaths was from carcinogens, injury risk factors and particulate matter, gases and fumes. In terms of DALYs, the largest burden was from ergonomic factors, injury risk factors, particulate matter, gases and fumes and noise. The rates and PAFs varied by region and across age and gender.Conclusion
Studying the burden of disease arising from occupational exposures provides guidance to policy makers and practitioners regarding the scope of ill health resulting from work and where resources might most be needed.