Singapore Construction Health Research Project
"ConstructHealth.sg" is a study that is being undertaken by IOM Singapore in response to the government Vision Zero strategy to improve health in the workplace. Our aim is to estimate the number of cases of cancer and non-malignant respiratory diseases in Singapore that may be caused by workplace exposures, specifically as a result of work in the construction sector, and to assess the effectiveness of strategies to reduce this.
The project is being funded by the Workplace Safety and Health Institute (WSHI).
In the past, focus has primarily been on safety within construction but it is becoming increasingly evident that there are many more deaths from occupational diseases than workplace accidents. The two most important types of occupational diseases are cancers and non-malignant respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the UK, these two diseases groups account for 12,000 deaths annually but similar information for Singapore is unknown. We have decided to focus on the construction sector because it is likely to contribute the largest share of workplace diseases in Singapore. This study will also include construction-related activities in the marine sector (such as the construction of offshore rigs, shipbuilding and ship-repair).
The methodology that will be used was developed by our research team for a similar study that estimated the burden of occupational cancer for the UK. The primary measures of disease burden will be the attributable fraction, or the proportion of disease that could have been prevented in the absence of the occupational exposure, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), which are a measure of the illness people experience as a result of their disease. Estimates for current and future cases of disease will be made from information about historical and current exposures, respectively. Potential interventions to reduce risks will be evaluated during the project and these can inform strategies for prevention.
The study is expected to be completed by October 2015. Results will be made available through a series of workshops, peer-reviewed publications, Singaporean trade journals, and our study's website: www.constructhealth.sg.