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Fatal occupational injuries are underreported in Norway
  1. Ebba Wergeland1,
  2. Finn Gjertsen2,
  3. Johan Lund3
  1. 1Norwegian Labour Inspectorate, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Norwegian Institute of Public health, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway


Objectives The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority records fatal occupational injuries in all sectors (except offshore, aviation, shipping and fishing). For 2000–03 the Labour Inspection Authority recorded 171 fatal occupational injuries where the deceased were residents in Norway. The aim of the study was to examine the quality and completeness of the record.

Methods Each of the deaths was compared with fatal occupational injuries recorded by the national Cause of Death Registry by means of the unique personal identification number. Widows, widowers and children are covered by social insurance and a particular private insurance scheme. Individual comparison was carried out with cases recorded by the National Social Insurance Administration and/or the joint registry of private insurance companies.

Results The total number identified from comparison with the Death Registry was 214. The Labour Inspection Authority mainly lacked information about road traffic accidents. The true number of deaths estimated on the basis of these two sources by a capture-recapture model was 246, or 44% more than the 171 deaths registered by the Labour Inspection Authority. Comparison with the two insurance sources identified 38 additional deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 252. Only 129 (51%) were recorded as occupational injuries by the National Social Insurance and/or by private insurance companies.

Conclusions Use of several sources improve completeness in registration of fatal occupational injuries, and misinterpretation of risk can be avoided. Many bereaved families may not receive the compensation they are entitled to.

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