The majority of recognized occupational diseases in the working-age population are diagnosed in men, as only less then one-third of the cases are recorded for women. Recognized occupational diseases in the working-age population are recorded for 50- to 64-year-olds in particular.

When viewed on the main category level (Industrial Classification 2008), recognized occupational diseases are diagnosed especially in

  • industry;
  • construction; and
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.

When viewed on the 2-digit level of the classification of occupations (Classification of Occupations 2010), occupational diseases are diagnosed especially among

  • metal, machinery and related trades workers;
  • building and related trades workers, excluding electricians; and
  • market-oriented skilled agricultural workers.

When the incidence is viewed in proportion to the number of those employed, food processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workers rank at the top.

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Recognised occupational diseases

Occupational diseases top 10
0500100015002000Noise-related injuryNoise-related injury: 1746 cases 0.777 cases per 1000 workersAllergic contact dermatitisAllergic contact dermatitis: 618 cases 0.275 cases per 1000 workersIrritant contact dermatitisIrritant contact dermatitis: 533 cases 0.237 cases per 1000 workersPleural plaques caused by asbestosPleural plaques caused by asbestos: 457 cases 0.203 cases per 1000 workersOccupational asthmaOccupational asthma: 303 cases 0.135 cases per 1000 workersLateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow): 219 cases 0.097 cases per 1000 workersScabiesScabies: 129 cases 0.057 cases per 1000 workersOccupational allergic rhinitisOccupational allergic rhinitis: 127 cases 0.057 cases per 1000 workersEpidemic nephropathyEpidemic nephropathy: 126 cases 0.056 cases per 1000 workersProtein contact dermatitis and contact urticariaProtein contact dermatitis and contact urticaria: 111 cases 0.049 cases per 1000 workersNumber of cases
Exposure agents
0500100015002000NoiseNoise: 1746 cases 0.777 cases per 1000 workersChemical exposure agentsChemical exposure agents: 885 cases 0.394 cases per 1000 workersAsbestos and other silicate materialsAsbestos and other silicate materials: 505 cases 0.225 cases per 1000 workersRepetitive work and unphysiological work positionsRepetitive work and unphysiological work positions: 462 cases 0.206 cases per 1000 workersOther or unknown factorsOther or unknown factors: 415 cases 0.185 cases per 1000 workersPlant- or animal-based exposure agentsPlant- or animal-based exposure agents: 377 cases 0.168 cases per 1000 workersBiological exposure agentsBiological exposure agents: 275 cases 0.122 cases per 1000 workersExposure to moisture damage and mouldExposure to moisture damage and mould: 147 cases 0.065 cases per 1000 workersVibrationVibration: 103 cases 0.046 cases per 1000 workersOther dusts and vapoursOther dusts and vapours: 4 cases 0.002 cases per 1000 workersNumber of cases
Occupations top 10
020040060080010001200Metal, machinery and related trades workersMetal, machinery and related trades workers: 942 casesBuilding and related trades workers, excluding electriciansBuilding and related trades workers, excluding electricians: 936 casesMarket-oriented skilled agricultural workersMarket-oriented skilled agricultural workers: 648 casesStationary plant and machine operatorsStationary plant and machine operators: 406 casesPersonal service workersPersonal service workers: 363 casesFood processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workersFood processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workers: 223 casesPersonal care workersPersonal care workers: 213 casesElectrical and electronic trades workersElectrical and electronic trades workers: 174 casesHealth associate professionalsHealth associate professionals: 167 casesCleaners and helpersCleaners and helpers: 102 casesNumber of cases
Occupations top 10, relative
0524681012Market-oriented skilled agricultural workersMarket-oriented skilled agricultural workers: 12.000 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationMetal, machinery and related trades workersMetal, machinery and related trades workers: 11.775 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationFood processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workersFood processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workers: 11.737 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationBuilding and related trades workers, excluding electriciansBuilding and related trades workers, excluding electricians: 10.636 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationCommissioned armed forces officersCommissioned armed forces officers: 10.250 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationHandicraft and printing workersHandicraft and printing workers: 8.429 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationStationary plant and machine operatorsStationary plant and machine operators: 5.413 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationMarket-oriented skilled forestry, fishery and hunting workersMarket-oriented skilled forestry, fishery and hunting workers: 5.333 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationElectrical and electronic trades workersElectrical and electronic trades workers: 4.971 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationPersonal service workersPersonal service workers: 3.300 cases per 1000 workers in this occupationRelative number of cases

Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common

The most common recognized occupational disease in the working-age population is still noise-induced hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is a cochlear hearing impairment caused by prolonged, repetitive or intense sudden exposure to noise. When viewed by occupation, allergic contact dermatitis is recognized as an occupational disease especially among

  • metal, machinery and related trades workers;
  • building and related trades workers, excluding electricians; and
  • stationary plant and machine operators.

Commissioned armed forces officers rank at the top if number of cases is proportioned to the number of those employed in the occupation class concerned.

Allergic and irritant contact dermatitis are the most common skin diseases

With regard to occupational dermatological diseases, allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis are among the most common occupational diseases. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by epoxy chemicals, rubber chemicals, preservatives (e.g. isothiazolines), metals and acrylates, among other things.

Allergic contact dermatitis is recognized as an occupational disease especially among

  • building and related trades workers, excluding electricians;
  • personal service workers (e.g. hairdressers, cosmetologists); and
  • metal, machinery and related trades workers.

The incidence per 1,000 employed is the highest in building and related trades workers (excluding electricians).

Wet work is the most common cause of irritant contact dermatitis. When viewed by occupation, irritant contact dermatitis is diagnosed especially in

  • personal service workers;
  • metal, machinery and related trades workers; and
  • personal care workers.

When the number of cases is viewed in proportion to the number of those employed, food preparation assistants rise to the top rank as well.

Protein contact dermatitis and contact urticaria, which are occupational skin diseases caused by a direct (type I) allergy, also rank among the ten most common occupational diseases. Protein contact dermatitis and contact urticaria are caused by animal- and plant-derived exposure agents in particular. Cases of them occur especially among market-oriented skilled agricultural workers.

Pleural plaques still highly common

Pleural plaques caused by asbestos continue to rank among the most common recognized occupational diseases. Pleural plaques are caused by exposure to asbestos in past decades when asbestos was commonly used in construction materials, for example. Pleural plaques are diagnosed especially among building and related trades workers, excluding electricians. A significant part of asbestos-related diseases are diagnosed in over 65-year-olds.

Occupational asthma and rhinitis common among market-oriented skilled agricultural workers

The majority of occupational asthmas are caused by sensitizing factors. Typical exposure agents causing occupational asthma include plant- and animal-derived exposure agents, such as cow, flour and feeds. Asthmas caused by exposures to moisture damage and irritant-induced asthmas are also recognized as occupational diseases. Occupational asthma is diagnosed especially in market-oriented skilled agricultural workers. Similarly to occupational asthma, occupational rhinitis is especially caused by plant- and animal-derived exposure agents, such as cow, flour and feeds. Occupational rhinitis also occurs especially among market-oriented skilled agricultural workers.

Tennis elbow is the most common repetitive strain injury

The most common repetitive strain injury recognized as an occupational disease is lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), caused by repetitive work. Lateral epicondylitis is diagnosed in occupational groups such as

  • building and related trades workers, excluding electricians;
  • food processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workers;
  • market-oriented skilled agricultural workers; and
  • metal, machinery and related trades workers.

Scabies and epidemic nephropathy

The scabies skin infection is caused by the scabies mite. Cases of them occur among personal care workers and health associate professionals in particular. Scabies occurs frequently in the form of epidemics in long-term care facilities.

Epidemic nephropathy is an infectious disease caused by the Puumala virus. Epidemic nephropathy can be transmitted by breathing in dust that has been polluted by bank vole excretions. Epidemic nephropathy occurs especially among market-oriented skilled agricultural workers.

A substantial part of occupational diseases could be prevented

It is important to continue putting special effort into the prevention of occupational diseases, even though a downward trend has long been discernible in the number of occupational diseases. A significant portion of occupational diseases could be prevented by way of up-to-date workplace risk assessment, development of working conditions, co-operation between the workplace and occupational health services, correct working practices and communication.