Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health Online-first -article    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4132 | Published online: 12 Nov 2023

Global-, regional- and country-level estimates of the work-related burden of diseases and accidents in 2019

by Takala J, Hämäläinen P, Sauni R, Nygård C-H, Gagliardi D, Neupane S

Objective This study provides the global-, regional- and country-level estimates on the work-related burden of diseases and accidents for 2019, including deaths, disability adjusted life years (DALY) and economic losses.

Methods Data on occupational illnesses and injuries from international organizations, institutions, and public websites were used. Risk ratios (RR) and population attributable fractions (PAF) for the risk factor-outcome pairs were derived from the literature. Estimated mortality and DALY for a group of seven major diseases covering 120 risk-outcome pairs attributable to work were calculated for 181 countries.

Results Globally, 2.9 million deaths were attributed to work, with 2.58 million deaths due to work-related diseases and 0.32 million related to occupational injuries. Globally, work-related diseases with a long latency period are increasing, while the number of occupational injuries has decreased. Work-related circulatory diseases were the major cause of 912 000 deaths globally, followed by 843 000 work-related malignant neoplasms. In high-income, American, Eastern European and Western Pacific World Health Organization (WHO) regions, however, work-related malignant neoplasms comprised the biggest disease group. DALY attributable to work were estimated to be 180 million in 2019, with an associated economic loss of 5.8% of global GDP. New estimates of psychosocial factors increased the global loss.

Conclusions The burden of work-related diseases and injuries increased by 26% from 2.3 million annual deaths in 2014 to 2.9 million in 2019. The DALY attributable to work have also substantially increased from 123 million in 2014 to 180 million in 2019 (47% increase). We found large regional and country variations.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 2001;27(3):161-213