Data on work-related ill-health (WRIH) in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) are inconsistent, with no mandatory requirement for employers to report occupational diseases/illness unless liable for compensation.Aims
To compare the incidence of WRIH in ROI, Northern Ireland (NI) and Great Britain (GB).Methods
Analysis of voluntary reported, medically verified data submitted to The Health and Occupation Research (THOR) network in ROI, 2005–2016. ROI-THOR comprises 4 schemes (74 physicians) enabling chest physicians (ROI-SWORD), dermatologists (ROI-EPIDERM), occupational physicians (ROI-OPRA) and general practitioners (THOR-GP-ROI) to report. Data were compared with the corresponding UK THOR schemes.Results
2148 case reports (dermatologists: 453, chest physicians: 164, OPs: 1514, GPs: 17) were reported to ROI-THOR. Contact dermatitis was the most frequently reported skin disease in all three areas (ROI, 96%; NI, 48%, GB, 76%). Asthma was the most frequently reported respiratory disease in the ROI (36%), whilst for GB and NI it was benign pleural disease (42% and 36%, respectively). OPs and GPs in the ROI reported mental ill-health (53%, 35%) and musculoskeletal disorders (34%, 24%) most frequently; a similar pattern was observed in NI and GB. ROI skin and respiratory incidence rates (based on reports from dermatologists and chest physicians) were generally similar, or slightly lower compared to NI and GB.Conclusions
Overall, THOR-ROI continues to provide the best overall source of data relating to medically attributed occupational disease incidence in the ROI. Comparisons with UK data suggest specialists in the ROI see proportionately less long latency skin (e.g. neoplasia) and respiratory (e.g. mesothelioma; lung cancer) diagnoses compared to the UK. Other observed differences included a much larger proportion of OP ROI cases originating from the health and social care sector compared to GB and NI reports.