• A model for comparing occupational health and safety

      Uijt de Haag PAM; Bellamy LJ; Burdorf A; Heederik DJJ; Manuel HJ; Papazoglou IA; Portengen L; Pronk A; Tielemans E; CEV ; VTV ; SIR (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVMTNOIRASErasmus Universiteit EURWhite Queen b.v., 2011-02-15)
      Employees can be exposed to different risks at the workplace, for example chronic exposure to harmful substances, physical stress and accidents. Up to now, these risks were assessed and judged independently. It appears possible to develop one integrated model that evaluates these different risks on the same basis, thus making them comparable. This is the result of a feasibility study carried out by RIVM in collaboration with experts from the University of Utrecht - IRAS, TNO, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, White Queen B.V. and Y. Papazoglou under the authority of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. In the feasibility study, one integrated model is developed to compare different exposures for some selected jobs in the construction industry. The model calculates the occupational burden of disease of silicosis and lung cancer (due to exposure to silica), low back pain (due to lifting of heavy loads) and injury and mortality (due to accidents). In all cases, the DALY is used to measure the burden of disease. The functioning of the model is demonstrated by applying the model to a few selected jobs and diseases. The first results of the pilot version of the OHIA model show that for three of the four selected jobs the occupational burden of disease, expressed in DALY, due to exposure to silica is one order of magnitude larger than the burden of disease due to lifting loads and incidents. For the carpenter, the burden of disease is comparable for the different working conditions. The model also shows the dynamic behaviour of the effects: the incidence of low back pain and incidents occurs only during the working life, whereas the incidence of lung cancer due to exposure to silica is for an important part after retirement. However, important information is still missing, and large uncertainties exist. The feasibility study demonstrates that it is possible to develop an integrated model for occupational health and safety. This model gives insight in the working conditions having the largest occupational burden of disease and the possibilities for improvement. The model thus allows prioritizing the policy efforts and introducing better health and safety improvement programmes. The feasibility study also shows the areas where model improvements are required.