Global and regional burden of disease and injury in 2016 arising from occupational exposures: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

GBD 2016 Occupational Risk Factors Collaborators

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives: This study provides an overview of the influence of occupational risk factors on the global burden of disease as estimated by the occupational component of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016 study. Methods: The GBD 2016 study estimated the burden in terms of deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) arising from the effects of occupational risk factors (carcinogens; asthmagens; particulate matter, gases and fumes (PMGF); secondhand smoke (SHS); noise; ergonomic risk factors for low back pain; risk factors for injury). A population attributable fraction (PAF) approach was used for most risk factors. Results: In 2016, globally, an estimated 1.53 (95% uncertainty interval 1.39-1.68) million deaths and 76.1 (66.3-86.3) million DALYs were attributable to the included occupational risk factors, accounting for 2.8% of deaths and 3.2% of DALYs from all causes. Most deaths were attributable to PMGF, carcinogens (particularly asbestos), injury risk factors and SHS. Most DALYs were attributable to injury risk factors and ergonomic exposures. Men and persons 55 years or older were most affected. PAFs ranged from 26.8% for low back pain from ergonomic risk factors and 19.6% for hearing loss from noise to 3.4% for carcinogens. DALYs per capita were highest in Oceania, Southeast Asia and Central sub-S aharan Africa. On a per capita basis, between 1990 and 2016 there was an overall decrease of about 31% in deaths and 25% in DALYs. Conclusions: Occupational exposures continue to cause an important health burden worldwide, justifying the need for ongoing prevention and control initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements BPaQ acknowledges the institutional support of PrOnaBec (national Program of scholarship and educational loan), provided by the Peruvian government; and la Trobe University. aBad acknowledges support from the Public health agency of canada. Fc acknowledges UiD/MUlTi/04378/2019 support with funding from FcT/McTes through national funds. eF acknowledges UiD/ QUi/50006/2019 support with funding from FcT/McTes through national funds. MJak acknowledges that the serbian part of this gBD contribution was cofinanced through grant Oi 175 014 of the Ministry of education science and Technological Development of the republic of serbia. YJK was supported by the Office of research & innovation, Xiamen University Malaysia. WM is currently a Program analyst for Population and Development at the Peru country Office of the United nations Population Fund-UnFPa, an institution which does not necessarily endorse this study. aMs received a fellowship from the egyptian Fulbright Mission Program (eFMP). rsar acknowledges institutional support from applied and environmental sciences University, Bogota, colombia and carlos iii institute of health. sMsi is funded by a senior research Fellowship from the institute for Physical activity and nutrition (iPan), Deakin University. rT-s was supported in part by grant number PrOMeTeOii/2015/021 from generalitat Valenciana and the national grant Pi17/00719 from isciii-FeDer

Funding Information:
Funding The overall gBD study is partly funded by the Bill & Melinda gates Foundation. The work reported in this paper was partly supported by funding from the World health Organization. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report. The authors had access to the data in the study and the final responsibility to submit the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


  • asbestos
  • diesel engine exhaust
  • epidemiology
  • occupational exposure
  • silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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