DENMARK: updated guidelines on occupational diseases

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On the basis of a decision by the Occupational Diseases Committee on 13 December 2022, the Work Environment Authority has updated the guidance relating to cases of occupational diseases notified on or after 1 January 2005.

The 18th edition of this guide applies from 1 July 2023. It contains general information on cases and requirements relating to the link between a disease and an occupational exposure, as well as a number of examples of decisions, which are not, however, exhaustive. The changes include the addition of sections or subsections on the following points:

  • Low back pain: two new sub-sections – “Follow-up of new knowledge on low back pain in 2022” and “Find out more about the 2022 survey report” – which refer to the link between occupational stress and the development of chronic low back pain with pain.
  • Diseases of the hand and forearm: new sub-section “New knowledge on diseases of the musculoskeletal system 2022” in connection with the review of two reports: “Does repetitive work cause disorders of the hands, elbows, shoulders and neck, and does it lead to a change of activity and work stoppage?” and “The importance of the work environment for musculoskeletal diseases (neck, shoulders, arms and hands)”.
  • Causes of irritant eczema (toxic eczema): new sub-section “New knowledge in the field of skin 2022” concerning eczema after wet work.
  • Effects of stress and mental illness: new sub-section “Monitoring mental illness and the effects of stress in 2022” from an article dated 9 March 2022 “Emotional demands at work and risk of hospital-treated depressive disorder in up to 1.6 million Danish employees: A nationwide prospective register-based cohort study” and a September 2022 report “Correlations between combinations of factors in the psychosocial work environment and health-related outcomes among workers in Denmark”.
  • Inguinal hernia: new subsection “Follow-up of new knowledge on mechanical influences in the workplace and inguinal hernias in 2022”.
  • Diseases following exposure to PFAS: the new section explains that exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) is not covered by occupational disease registers. The latest knowledge does not change practices, but it seems that the Danish AES Authority is currently submitting specific cases to the Occupational Diseases Committee.
  • Electrical damage: new section based on the research report “Late consequences of electrical accidents” of June 2021.
  • Heart rhythm disorders and elite sports practice: new section based on several studies in which elite athletes who had developed heart rhythm disorders in the form of ventricular arrhythmias had been examined. It emerged from the section that the ESA would present concrete cases to the Occupational Diseases Committee where injured persons had ventricular fibrillation/flutter (heart rhythm disorder) and where injured persons practised extreme sports because of their work.

These various additions and discussions have generally not led to any change in the recognition of cases of occupational diseases or to any modification of the list, but they are indicative of the subjects of interest within the Occupational Diseases Committee.

Guide to occupational diseases declared as from 1 January 2005

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