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Systematic scoping review of occupational health injuries and illnesses among Indigenous workers


Indigenous populations in the USA, Australia, New Zealand (NZ) and Canada total more than 13 million, but continue to be marginalised in their respective regions. The goal of this comprehensive review of all studies evaluating adverse occupational health outcomes among Indigenous populations in these countries was to identify gaps in the literature and future research directions. A systematic scoping review of research published between 1970 and 2020 was undertaken using the methodological framework initially proposed by Arksey and O’Malley. Country, Indigenous participants, study type, exposure, adverse health outcome, occupation and industry were identified for each paper. Of the 1272 research papers identified, only 51 articles met the inclusion criteria of this scoping review. Almost half of the studies (n=24, 47.1%) were published after 2010. Only 13 (25.5%) studies specifically focused on Indigenous persons at the time of the study design, and less than half of the studies (47.1%) included more than 100 Indigenous participants. Most studies used the following general terms without mention of specific indigenous groups: Indigenous (Australia), Māori (NZ), Aboriginal (Canada) and American Indian or Alaskan Native (USA). Only one study acknowledged asking respondents their preferred terminology. Over the past 50 years, there has been a paucity of research directly or indirectly evaluating occupational health outcomes of Indigenous populations in these four countries. There is a need for better sampling strategies and inclusion of demographic questions that capture Indigenous status in surveys, workers’ compensation data and other commonly used data sources to develop adequate baseline data for targeted future interventions.

  • Ethnic Groups
  • Epidemiology
  • Occupational Health
  • Wounds and Injuries
  • Public health

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