Article ID: JE20190332
Background: While much effort has focused on quantifying disease burden in occupational health, no study has simultaneously assessed disease burden in terms of mortality and morbidity. We aimed to propose a new comprehensive method of quantifying the disease burden in the workplace.
Methods: The data were obtained from the Japan Epidemiology Collaboration on Occupational Health (J-ECOH) Study, a large-scale prospective study of approximately 80,000 workers. We defined disease burden in the workplace as the number of working years lost among the working population during a 6-year period (April 2012 to March 2018). We calculated the disease burden according to consequences of health problems (ie, mortality, sickness absence [SA], and ill-health retirement) and disease category. We also calculated the age-group- (20–39 and 40–59 years old) and sex-specific disease burden.
Results: The largest contributors to disease burden in the workplace were mental and behavioural disorders (47.0 person-years lost per 10,000 person-years of working years; ie, per myriad [proportion]), followed by neoplasms (10.8 per myriad) and diseases of the circulatory system (7.1 per myriad). While mental and behavioural disorders made a greater contribution to SA and ill-health retirement compared to mortality, the latter two disorders were the largest contributors to the disease burden in the workplace due to mortality. The number of working years lost was greater among younger versus older female participants, whereas the opposite trend was observed in males.
Conclusions: Our approach is in contrast to those in previous studies that focused exclusively on mortality or morbidity.