Objectives Data on work-related injury is critical in devising preventive strategies. In Norway, there are different systems that yield epidemiological data on work-related injuries, both fatal and non-fatal. In this study we attempt to profile the multitude of challenges for surveillance of work-related injuries.
Method We collated information from several Norwegian studies that evaluated the different systems that yield epidemiological data on work-related injuries. These studies identified many challenges with regards to injury data collected by different institutions like the Labour Inspection, Public Health Institute, Registry of Private Insurance Companies and Hospital Based Registry. Several public documents that concern national strategies and polices for improving work-related injury surveillance in Norway were also examined.
Results None of the injury surveillance systems provided an accurate representation of work-related injuries. However, it is fair to submit that surveillance of work-related fatal injuries has improved in the last few years. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about non-fatal injuries attributed to work. Our findings indicate an unintentional, yet substantial breakdown of the work-related injury surveillance infrastructure. This breakdown could be attributed to among others, underreporting, fragmentation of workers occupational safety and health responsibility, lack of coordination between the national agencies, and inapt use of available technologies.
Conclusions Significant gains have been made in the past few years with regards to fatal injury surveillance. However, the surveillance of non-fatal injuries remains noticeably tenuous. Lack of reliable surveillance data on work-related injuries remains an enduring challenge for our preventive efforts.
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