Use of GIS in visualization of work-related health problems

05 May 2020

Occupational health and safety (OHS) information is often complex, diverse and unstructured and suffers from a lack of integration which usually precludes any systemic insight of the situation. Aims To analyse to what extent the use of geographical information systems (GISs) can help to integrate, analyse and present OHS data in a comprehensive and communicable way relevant for surveillance purposes. Methods We first developed a ?macro-approach? (from national to local level), mapping data related to eco- nomic activity (denominator of active workers displayed by activity sectors), as well as work-related ill-health (numerators of workers suffering from work-related ill-health). The latter data are com- posed of compensated occupational diseases on the one hand and work-related diseases investigated by specialized clinics on the other hand. Then, a ?micro-approach? was worked out, integrating at a plant level, using computer-aided drawing, occupational risks data and OHS surveillance data (e.g. use of medication and sickness absence data). Results At the macro-level, microelectronics companies and workers were mapped at different scales. For the first time, we were able to compare, up to the enterprise level, complementary data showing different pictures of work-related ill-health, allowing a better understanding of OH issues in this sector. At the micro-level, new information arose from the integration of risk assessment data and medical data. Conclusions This work illustrates to what extent GIS is a promising tool in the OHS field, and discusses related challenges (technical, ethical, biases and interpretation) and research perspectives.