Jukka TakalaPast President of ICOH
Adj. Professor, Tampere University/Health Sciences
Dr. Sc., MSc, BSc, Fellow
- The first Executive Director of Workplace Safety and Health Institute of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of Singapore from 2011 and continued in MOM as Senior Consultant until end 2017.
- Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) from 2006-2011. He was the coordinator of all EU regulatory agencies in 2010-11.
- He served the International Labour Organisation (ILO) during 1978-2006, as a Chief Technical Adviser in Africa and Asia, Head of ILO/OSH Information Geneva , as Chief of Branch and as Director of the ILO’s Global SafeWork InFocus Programme.
- Eralier from 1969 – 1978 he worked in industry, in the University, and Ministry of Social Affairs and Health as an safety and health inspector, and as a chief of bureau.
- Fellow of the Faculty of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
- Commander of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
Burden of Injury and Illness at Work – globally and in Taiwan
Global Estimates of the Burden have been made since 1999 and recently based on 41 exposure-outcome pairs. The fatal and non-fatal occupational burden has grown considerably over the past 20 years by all estimates. Progress in occupational safety has taken place in many developed countries but the burden of work-related diseases appears to have a rising trend globally. New hazards at work enter the world of work, derived from globalisation, introduction of new technologies, digitalisation, new materials and substances, and new biological and psycho-social factors.
Materials, Methods and Approaches
New patterns of employment, such as precariousness, distance and mobile working have been detected with the growing trends of “new economies”. The identification of such new work processes will have to be tackled with the present methods at our disposal. Data sources from WHO, ILO, individual countries and regional bodies, and from scientific reports were used. The method and results are well documented and have included some 115 exposure-outcome pairs for work-related diseases, and a sectoral analysis for fatal and non-fatal injuries. There is very limited official data reported globally on occupational accidents and diseases. Proxy data from comparable countries have been used for countries with limited or no reporting.
The global number of occupational fatal injuries and fatal work-related diseases has grown from 1.1 million deaths in 1999, to 2.3 million deaths in 2014 estimates, 2.8 million in 2017, and the latest estimate is 2.9 million in 2021. Cardiovascular diseases contributed to 956,000 deaths, occupational cancer 842,000 deaths, and respiratory diseases 493,000 deaths. Occupational injuries caused 312,000 deaths. The economic loss caused by inadequate preventive measure has been calculated to be 5.4% of the Global Gross Domestic Product, every year.
Taiwan follows the patterns of between the High Income economies and the WHO EURO Region, where the number of fatal accidents and communicable diseases is relatively low compared to work-related non-communicable diseases. The latest estimate for Taiwan show 425 (835 in 2015) fatal cases caused by occupational accidents, 9,877 (7,417 in 2015) fatalities caused by work-related diseases, and a GDP loss of 3.5% annually. The major causes behind were occupational cancer, occupational circulatory diseases, occupational respiratory diseases and occupational accidents.
Work-related harm including occupational diseases and accidents, work disability, short- and long-term absences from work, premature retirement, limited working capacity and unemployment have caused by past occupational exposures. all cause substantial social and economic losses. The trend of occupational cancer and occupational cardiovascular diseases is growing. Pandemics hit the workforce all over the world. Anticipation and preparedness have become very important due to the Covid-19 pandemic while a similar process is vital to tackle other almost completely unforeseen problems and disorders at work.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The health systems - and occupational health and safety systems - throughout the world including industrialized countries must be better prepared. The challenge is to predict, prevent and manage risks as the numbers of “stable workplaces” diminish and the working life gets more and more fragmented, unstable. Traditional protection – prevention (of risks) – promotion of health and safety at work will have to include future foresight methods, anticipation of changes and preparedness for the largely unexpected risks and hazards.