Occupational exposures and hazards
In 2015, 2% of the total burden in Australia was due to occupational exposures & hazards.
These estimates reflect the amount of burden that could have been avoided if all people in Australia were not exposed to occupational exposures & hazards including injuries, loud noise, carcinogens, particulate matter, gas and fumes, asthmagens and ergonomic factors.
Occupational exposures & hazards was linked to 29 diseases and injuries including 10 types of cancer, 15 types of injury, hearing loss, back pain & problems, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumoconiosis (Table 1).
|Occupational exposure or hazard||Linked disease|
|Injury||Drowning, falls, fire, burns and scalds, homicide and violence, road traffic injuries—motor vehicle occupants, road traffic injuries—motorcyclists, other unintentional injuries, other land transport injuries, other road traffic injuries|
|Benzene or formaldehyde||Acute myeloid leukaemia, Chronic myeloid leukaemia, Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Other leukaemias, nasopharyngeal cancer|
|Arsenic, beryllium, cadmium chromium, diesel engine exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nickel, second-hand smoke, silica||Lung cancer|
|Sulfuric acid||Laryngeal cancer|
|Particulate matter, gas and fumes||COPD|
|Asbestos||Laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, mesothelioma|
|Asbestos, silica and particulate matter||Pneumoconiosis|
|Ergonomic factors||Back pain & problems|
How much burden was attributable to occupational exposures and hazards?
Occupational exposures & hazards were responsible for the entire burden from pneumoconiosis, 63% of mesothelioma burden, 17% of back pain & problems burden, 9% of asthma burden and 8% each of lung cancer and road traffic injuries of motor vehicle occupants burden. Occupational exposures & hazards contributed to less than 10% of the burden for other linked diseases (see Supplementary tables).
Note that the following visualisation displays the top 10 linked diseases due to occupational exposures & hazards.
How did burden attributable to occupational exposures and hazards vary by age and sex?
Burden due to occupational exposures & hazards was estimated in people aged 15 and over. Attributable burden increased with age, peaking at ages 55–64 years.
In people aged 15–64 years, the most burden due to occupational exposures & hazards was from back pain & problems followed by asthma. In ages 65 and over, the most burden due to occupational exposures & hazards was from lung cancer.
Males experience more burden due to occupational exposures & hazards in all age groups compared with females. Between ages 15–64 years, males experienced over twice the amount of burden due to occupational exposures & hazards compared with females.
Did attributable burden vary by socioeconomic group?
Disease burden attributable to occupational exposures & hazards was 1.6 times greater in the lowest (most disadvantaged) socioeconomic group compared with the highest (least disadvantaged) group.
How has disease burden due to occupational risks changed over time?
The rate of total burden due to occupational exposures & hazards (from all linked diseases) decreased by 13% between 2003 and 2015 (from 4.4 DALY to 3.8 DALY per 1,000 population).