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. This is a comprehensive profile of surveillance of work-related injuries in Norway. Moreover, we attempt to highlight the challenges and missed opportunities with regards to improving surveillance, and thereby prevention of work-related injuries.
Methods We collated information from several Norwegian studies that evaluated the different systems that yield epidemiological data on work-related injuries. These studies identified several 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 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 traumatic injuries, and unintentional injuries attributed to work. Our findings indicate several challenges with regards to the surveillance infrastructure. These challenges could be attributed to among others, underreporting, unclear reporting criteria, lack of coordination between the national agencies, tenuous quality assurance and inapt use of available technologies.
Conclusions It must be said that significant gains have been made in the past few years with regards to fatal injury surveillance, although improvement on evaluation of completeness of captured data and quality assurance is much desired. However, the surveillance of non-fatal injuries remains an enduring challenge.
There are both sound policy-level, and novel technological opportunities available for improving the current situation. But, these opportunities have been missed thus far. Consequently, challenges to surveillance of work-related injuries remain pervasive limiting our preventive efforts.
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