556 Work-related diseases among farmers in norway: what do the doctors report to the labour inspectorate reveal, and what they miss?

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Abstract

Introduction

Doctors in Norway report work-related diseases to the Labour Inspection Authority as required by the Working Environment Act. These reports make the basis for the labour inspectorates registry for work-related diseases (RAS). The purpose of this study is to highlight the lack of reliable data with regards to work-related diseases among Norwegian farmers which hinders our preventive efforts.

Methods

Data as they concern the occupation ‘farmers’ were extracted from RAS for the period 2005–2017. The data among others included variables pertaining to demographics, occupational exposures, diagnosis, year of reporting, and the type of doctor who reported the disease. We performed descriptive analysis on the extracted data to obtain frequency, and percentage distribution of the data. We plan to calculate incidence rates; however, it has been difficult to find a reliable denominator for such computations.

Result

In the period 2005–2017, 616 cases of work-related diseases among farmers were reported. On average 44 reports of work-related disease among farmers were reported to the Labour Inspectorate annually. 95% of the reported cases were farmers under the age of 67 years. Hearing loss made up about 60% (n=368) of all the cases followed by respiratory diseases that make up 19% (n=116) of all cases. Only a few cases are attributed to other diagnosis groups like skin diseases, musculoskeletal- and psychological disorders.

Discussion

The doctors report on work-related diseases among farmer’s reveal that hearing loss is still a major challenge. Some of these data are being applied for preventive actions. Having said that, we know from research studies and self-reported data that farmers are exposed to among others dust, gas, pesticides, infectious materials. They work long hours in difficult postures. However, RAS data is missing a large number work-related diseases among the Norwegian farmers which is hindering effective prevention.

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