Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, is working on a pilot project for a new national database on occupational diseases (OD) at European level. These data are fundamental for assessing the effectiveness of Community legislation on health and safety at work, to know the most recognised occupational diseases and their causality and thus to prioritise the preventive actions to be implemented at Community level. However, having a European database is not a simple exercise.
Indeed, data on recognised cases of occupational diseases reflect not only the occurrence of these diseases, but also the way in which the concept of occupational disease has been integrated into national social security systems. The existence of different legal systems and procedures for the recognition of occupational diseases in Europe makes the comparative exercise difficult. The low number of cases recognised in a given country does not prove the absence of this disease or the implementation of successful prevention actions. Similarly, well-established detection systems and large-scale information campaigns could explain the high number of cases reported and recognised in some countries.
Due to problems of comparability, Eurosat currently only disseminates an indicator called EU INDEX which shows the evolution of the diseases on the defined “core list”. In order to improve the database, it now invites users and researchers to send it their comments and suggestions on :
- the “basic list” of occupational diseases and their groupings,
- the variables collected,
- other indicators that could be useful to solve the problem of data comparability.
Eurostat looks forward to hearing from you!