Despite significant global improvement in occupational health and safety over the past few decades, workplace deaths and injuries are still occurring. At the same time, many countries are experiencing an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases due to ageing population and lifestyle factors. Currently, risk assessment does not commonly take into account employees’ personal health risks. Our paper aims to review the association between chronic diseases and risk of workplace injuries, and recommend a health-based risk assessment framework which would incorporate employees’ health factors into the risk assessment process which employers are familiar with.Methods
A literature review was conducted to gather the evidence for the association between chronic diseases and risk of injuries in the workplace. A health-based risk assessment framework was constructed that incorporates employees’ health factors, giving examples on how this can be done, as well as highlighting some of the challenges.Results
Many recent studies found that increased body mass index was associated with higher risk of injuries, while older workers were at risk of more severe injuries. Diabetes mellitus was also associated with workplace injuries in some studies. There were fewer studies looking at other chronic diseases such as hypertension. We will share our health-based risk assessment framework incorporating employees’ health into the risk assessment process, in a comparable way as that for occupational health and safety hazards.Discussion
Including a health-based risk assessment framework into the Risk Assessment matrix can improve the integration of workplace health and safety management.