Author(s): Pega, F., Al-Eman, R., Cao, B. Davis, C.W., et al.

Source: Bull World Health Organ 2023;101:418–430Q; doi:

Abstract: Through sustainable development goals 3 and 8 and other policies, countries have committed to protect and promote workers’ health by reducing the work-related burden of disease. To monitor progress on these commitments, indicators that capture the work-related burden of disease should be available for monitoring workers’ health and sustainable development. The World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization estimate that only 363 283 (19%) of 1 879 890 work-related deaths globally in 2016 were due to injuries, whereas 1 516 607 (81%) deaths were due to diseases. Most monitoring systems focusing on workers’ health or sustainable development, such as the global indicator framework for the sustainable development goals, include an indicator on the burden of occupational injuries. Few such systems, however, have an indicator on the burden of work-related diseases. To address this gap, we present a new global indicator: mortality rate from diseases attributable to selected occupational risk factors, by disease, risk factor, sex and age group. We outline the policy rationale of the indicator, describe its data sources and methods of calculation, and report and analyse the official indicator for 183 countries. We also provide examples of the use of the indicator in national workers’ health monitoring systems and highlight the indicator’s strengths and limitations. We conclude that integrating the new indicator into monitoring systems will provide more comprehensive and accurate surveillance of workers’ health, and allow harmonization across global, regional and national monitoring systems. Inequalities in workers’ health can be analysed and the evidence base can be improved towards more effective policy and systems on workers’ health.