Estimating occupational disease burden: a way forward

John W. Cherrie, Martie van Tongeren, Hans Kromhout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estimates of occupational disease burden provide important information on which effective policy and regulations can be developed. However, there is no direct way that these data can be obtained, and most burden estimates are derived by merging different data from diverse sources to synthesize estimates of the number of people made ill or who have died from workplace exposures. In recent years, several research groups have published estimates of occupational health burden at national or global scales; these are not always consistent. The World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation have taken on the task of producing occupational disease burden estimates for several workplace agents, which we assume are to be seen as the definitive global, regional, and national data. In this commentary, we critique the WHO/ILO approach for their estimates of the non-melanoma skin cancer burden from solar ultraviolet radiation and some of their results for hazardous particulates. We provide recommendations for researchers undertaking occupational burden estimates that they should report along with their data.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberwxae040
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Early online date20 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2024


  • NMSC
  • burden
  • epidemiology
  • exposure prevalence
  • occupational cancer
  • risk
  • workplace


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