1767d Recognition of occupational diseases in switzerland: why have we fallen behind, and how can we improve the system to better protect workers?

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Abstract

Occupational disease lists are essential legal mechanisms for recognizing pathologies related to hazardous workplace exposures. In Switzerland, 1.1 million workers are affected by work-related health problems annually. In terms of financial repercussions, the situation is not negligible: the cost of occupational diseases amounts to at least CHF 20 billion per year. However, there is currently no centralized database on workers’ exposures to occupational hazards in Switzerland; nor a national register of chronic effects due to occupational exposures. Moreover, Switzerland has made limited progress in its stategy for updating the recognized occupational disease list. In October 2017, a revision to the occupational disease list was proposed for the first time in ten years, highlighting the urgent need to ameliorate the system of occupational disease reporting and recognition in Switzerland. This review will focus on the importance of occupational disease lists towards occupational safety and health strategies and prevention efforts, while highlighting the unique case of Switzerland, with the aim to gather evidence and good practices towards the improvement of its own occupational disease list.

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