Subscribe to Research Article | IHME

Publication date: 
February 19, 2020


China has more than 18% of the global population and over 770 million workers. However, the burden of disease attributable to occupational risks is unavailable in China. We aimed to estimate the burden of disease attributable to occupational exposures at provincial levels from 1990 to 2017.


We estimated the summary exposure values (SEVs), deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to occupational risk factors in China from 1990 to 2017, based on Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2017. There were 18 occupational risks, 22 related causes, and 35 risk-outcome pairs included in this study. Meanwhile, we compared age-standardized death rates attributable to occupational risk factors in provinces of China by socio-demographic index (SDI).


The SEVs of most occupational risks increased from 1990 to 2017. There were 323,833 (95% UI 283,780 - 369,061) deaths and 14,060,210 (12,022,974 - 16,125,763) DALYs attributable to total occupational risks in China, which were 27.9 and 22.1% of corresponding global levels, respectively. For attributable deaths, major risks came from occupational particulate matter, gases, and fumes (PGFs), and for the attributable DALYs, from occupational injuries. The attributable burden was higher in males than in females. Compared with high SDI provinces, low SDI provinces, especially Western China, had higher death rates attributable to total occupational risks, occupational PGFs, and occupational injuries.


Occupational risks contribute to a huge disease burden in China. The attributable burden is higher in males, and in less developed provinces of Western China, reflecting differences in risk exposure, socioeconomic conditions, and type of jobs. Our study highlights the need for further research and focused policy interventions on the health of workers especially for less developed provinces in China to reduce occupational health losses effectively.


Li J, Yin P, Wang H, Zeng X, Zhang X, Wang L, Liu J, Liu Y, You J, Zhao Z, Yu S, Zhou M. The disease burden attributable to 18 occupational risks in China: an analysis for the global burden of disease study 2017. Environmental Health. 19 February 2020. doi:10.1186/s12940-020-00577-y.