For occupational respiratory diseases, symptoms appear many years after causative exposures begin. This makes the health impact of workplace interventions difficult to assess. The workforce of the future is likely to be older, have greater numbers of physically impaired workers, and more workers at greater risk of long-term health problems. Consequently, understanding the magnitude of these demographic changes, how they might be mitigated, and their impact in terms of health and productivity will help plan effective policies.
During five years, collaboration between TNO (The Netherlands) and HSE (United Kingdom) has led to the development of Health Impact Assessment models for Occupational Respiratory Diseases. These models predict the effect of change in a risk factor (e.g. a reduction in exposure as a consequence of intervention) on the burden of disease.
With this PEROSH project, the PEROSH members aimed at broadening the application of these models through collaboration with other members to gain insight into:
- the burden of disease and associated costs as a result of current and past exposure levels in the different PEROSH countries;
- the validity of the models by comparing the disease prevalence or incidence predicted based on present and historical exposure levels with actual data from disease registries or other sources; and
- the effect of different potential interventions on the burden of disease and associated costs by performing scenario analyses.
Anjoeka Pronk, TNO
Emma Tan, HSL