Article Text

Original article
Trends in incidence of occupational asthma, contact dermatitis, noise-induced hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders in European countries from 2000 to 2012
  1. S Jill Stocks1,2,
  2. Roseanne McNamee3,
  3. Henk F van der Molen4,
  4. Christophe Paris5,6,
  5. Pavel Urban7,8,
  6. Giuseppe Campo9,
  7. Riitta Sauni10,
  8. Begoña Martínez Jarreta11,
  9. Madeleine Valenty12,
  10. Lode Godderis13,14,
  11. David Miedinger15,16,
  12. Pascal Jacquetin17,
  13. Hans M Gravseth18,
  14. Vincent Bonneterre19,
  15. Maylis Telle-Lamberton20,
  16. Lynda Bensefa-Colas21,22,
  17. Serge Faye23,
  18. Godewina Mylle14,
  19. Axel Wannag24,
  20. Yogindra Samant24,
  21. Teake Pal4,
  22. Stefan Scholz-Odermatt15,25,
  23. Adriano Papale9,
  24. Martijn Schouteden14,
  25. Claudio Colosio26,
  26. Stefano Mattioli27,
  27. Raymond Agius1,
  28. Working Group 2; Cost Action IS1002—Monitoring trends in Occupational Diseases and tracing new and Emerging Risks in a NETwork (MODERNET)
  1. 1Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2NIHR Greater Manchester Primary Care Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Centre for Biostatistics, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  4. 4Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  5. 5Inserm U954, Vandoeuvre Les Nancy, France
  6. 6Occupational Diseases Department, University Hospital, Nancy, France
  7. 7Centre for Occupational Health, National Institute of Public Health, Prague, Czech Republic
  8. 8Department of Occupational Medicine, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
  9. 9Istituto Nazionale Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro (INAIL) Research, Rome, Italy
  10. 10Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Tampere, Finland
  11. 11School of Occupational Medicine, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
  12. 12Département Santé Travail, Institut de veille sanitaire, Saint Maurice, France
  13. 13Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  14. 14IDEWE, Heverlee, Belgium
  15. 15Department of Occupational Medicine & Department of Actuarial Science, Suva (Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund), Lucerne, Switzerland
  16. 16 Medical Faculty, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  17. 17Caisse nationale de l'assurance maladie des travailleurs salariés, Paris, France
  18. 18National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway
  19. 19Département de Médecine et Santé au travail, Pôle Santé publique, CHU Grenoble, Grenoble, France
  20. 20Observatoire régional de santé Île-de-France, ORS Île-de-France, Paris, France
  21. 21Occupational Diseases Department, University Hospital of Centre of Paris COCHIN, AP-HP, Paris, France
  22. 22Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, EA 4064, Laboratoire Santé Publique et Environnement, Paris, France
  23. 23Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (ANSES), Maisons-Alfort, France
  24. 24Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, Trondheim, Norway
  25. 25Swiss Central Office for Statistics in Accident Insurance—SSUV, Lucerne, Switzerland
  26. 26Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milano, Milano, Italy
  27. 27Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr S Jill Stocks, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, 4th Floor Ellen Wilkinson Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK; jill.stocks{at}


Objectives The European Union (EU) strategy for health and safety at work underlines the need to reduce the incidence of occupational diseases (OD), but European statistics to evaluate this common goal are scarce. We aim to estimate and compare changes in incidence over time for occupational asthma, contact dermatitis, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders across 10 European countries.

Methods OD surveillance systems that potentially reflected nationally representative trends in incidence within Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK provided data. Case counts were analysed using a negative binomial regression model with year as the main covariate. Many systems collected data from networks of ‘centres’, requiring the use of a multilevel negative binomial model. Some models made allowance for changes in compensation or reporting rules.

Results Reports of contact dermatitis and asthma, conditions with shorter time between exposure to causal substances and OD, were consistently declining with only a few exceptions. For OD with physical causal exposures there was more variation between countries. Reported NIHL was increasing in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands and decreasing elsewhere. Trends in CTS and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders varied widely within and between countries.

Conclusions This is the first direct comparison of trends in OD within Europe and is consistent with a positive impact of European initiatives addressing exposures relevant to asthma and contact dermatitis. Taking a more flexible approach allowed comparisons of surveillance data between and within countries without harmonisation of data collection methods.

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