WHO launches new global indicator on fatal work-related diseases

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The World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy and South Africa, has launched a new global indicator for workers’ health.

This indicator is “Mortality rate per 100 000 working-age population from diseases attributable to selected occupational risk factors, by disease, risk factor, sex and age group”. An article presenting the indicator for 183 countries for the years 2000, 2010 and 2016 was published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization [1]. Click here to read the article.

WHO and the International Labour Organization found in their Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury that 1.9 million people died due to selected occupational risk factors globally in 2016 [2]. Of these, 1.5 million people (81%) died from work-related diseases [2]. This statistic highlighted the need for producing a global indicator on mortality from work-related diseases.

The new WHO indicator is available via the article and the updated WHO Occupational Burden of Disease Application with an interactive map, a data disaggregation tool (by region, sex and age group) and a data downloading tool [3].

Countries and international organizations can include the indicator in their official workers’ health monitoring systems to add more focus on diseases.

1. Pega, F., et al., New global indicator for workers′ health: mortality rate from diseases attributable to selected occupational risk factors. Bull World Health Organ, 2023. 101(6): p. 418-430Q.

2. WHO and ILO, WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report. 2021, WHO and ILO: Geneva.

3. WHO. Occupational Burden of Disease Application: App for exploring and visualizing occupational burden of disease estimates, by country, sex and age group. Version 1.0. 2023.