Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Injuries and their burden for Iranian construction workers

SPHPM’s Adjunct Research Fellow and Monash alumna Dr Narges Khanjani has co-authored new research that has found the burden of injuries for Iranian construction workers is remarkably high; estimating that 18,557 years of life lost were to death and disability in 2012.

This research, the first of its kind in Iran to determine the burden of injuries of insured construction workers, was published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion.

“In this study, we described the burden of external cause of injuries in insured construction workers in Iran using a measure that reflected both injury, mortality and incidence. We expect the findings to be very useful in assessing future changes with respect to mortality and morbidity in Iran,” Dr Khanjani said.

The study used disability adjusted life years (DALY) to estimate the burden of injury, which was calculated from years of life lost due to death (YLL) and years of life lost due to disability (YLD).

The study highlights that work-related incidents are one of biggest problems of developing countries, in fact the World Health Organisation (WHO) has given it a similar status to an epidemic because of its substantial public health implications.

It is estimated that every year 350, 000 workers in the world lose their lives due to work injuries, and more than half of these deaths occur in south-east Asia and the West Pacific.

The research revealed the most common cause of incidents in construction workers was falling and exposure to inanimate mechanical forces which refers to being struck by falling objects or contact with powered or unpowered machinery or tools.

The incidence rate of work-related accidents among insured construction workers in Iran was higher than those reported in similar studies performed in different provinces of Iran.

“Our findings demonstrate that falling is the most important causative factor and constitutes the largest part of disability adjusted life years in this population, especially for workers under 29, which suggests that targeted interventions could help reduce the incidence and burden of injury for this age group.”

Dr Khanjani undertook her PhD at SPHPM, conducting a population-based study which found a possible link between the use of organochlorine pesticides and breast cancer in Victoria's north-east. Her recent study on the use of opium and the high occurrence of bladder cancer in the Iranian population was also published last year in the Archives of Iranian Medicine Journal.

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