Feel like your job is killing you? The National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) has launched a surveillance programme to find out.
NIOH has initiated a “national surveillance project” to determine the increase in mortality from specific diseases within occupation groups, with heart disease prevalent among people working in managerial positions.
In the absence of national surveillance data, the project identified emerging mortality trends in the workplace using data from the SA National Burden of Disease Study, as well as registration data from Stats SA and the home affairs department.
Dr Nisha Naicker, head of the NIOH epidemiology and surveillance section, said that the project required a great deal of data analysis.
“The epidemiology unit sifted through massive amounts of data to determine the ratios of mortality within occupation groups, and the underlying cause of death in 2016, based on death certificate information,” he said.
Analysis of the 2016 data showed that there were 468,573 reported deaths of people over the age of 15 with only 59,707 (12.7%) individuals having a specified occupation.
Naicker said that the project aimed to “get a clearer understanding of mortality by occupation and identify trends and emerging patterns in workplaces”.
The data ranked occupational health hazards based on “proportionate mortality ratios” (PMR). A PMR of more than 100 indicates that the proportion of deaths from a particular cause in the specified occupation is higher than the general population.