The italian national surveillance system for occupational injuries: Conceptual framework and fatal outcomes, 2002–2016

Giuseppe Campo, Luca Cegolon, Diego De Merich, Ugo Fedeli, Mauro Pellicci, William C. Heymann, Sofia Pavanello, Armando Guglielmi, Giuseppe Mastrangelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A national database of work-related injuries has been established in Italy since 2002, collecting information on the injured person, his/her work tasks, the workplace and the risk factors contributing to incident dynamics, according to a model called Infor.Mo. Methods: A descriptive study of occupational fatal injuries, excluding work-related fatal traffic injuries, that occurred in Italy from 2002 to 2016 (15 years) was performed. Results: Among 4874 victims involved, all were males, mainly >51 years of age (43.2%), predominantly self-employed (27.8%) or workers with non-standard contracts (25%). About 18.4% and 17.3% of fatal events occurred in micro-enterprises belonging to, respectively, construction and agriculture. A wide range of nationalities (59 countries in addition to Italy) was identified. Overall, 18.9% of work-related fatal injuries were due to some form of hazardous energy—mechanical, thermal, electrical or chemical—that was normally present in the workplace. Workers’ falls from height (33.5%), heavy loads falling on workers from height (16.7%) and vehicles exiting their route and overturning (15.9%) were the events causing the greatest proportion of occupational fatal injuries in the present study (from 2002 to 2016) and in the initial pilot phase, focused on years 2002–2004, with a similar distribution of fatal events between the two time periods. The activity of the injured person made up 43.3% of 9386 risk factors identified in 4874 fatalities. Less common risk factors were related to work equipment (20.2%), work environment (14.9%), third–party activity (9.8%), personal protective equipment/clothing (8.0%) and materials (3.7%). The activity of the injured person remained the most relevant contributing factor even when the incident was caused by two or more risk factors. Discussion: Occupational fatal injuries occurred mainly in small size firms (up to nine employees) in hazardous workplaces. Small companies, which account for 68% (2888/4249) of all firms in the present study, generally have fewer resources to remain current with the continuously evolving health and safety at work regulations; moreover, these firms tend to be less compliant with health and safety at work regulations since they are less likely to be inspected by occupational vigilance services. Perspectives: An approach being introduced in Italy relies on the use of economic incentives to promote safe and healthy workplaces. The comparison of pre-intervention and post-intervention rates of work-related injuries by means of interrupted time series analyses could detect whether the intervention will have an effect significantly greater than the underlying secular trend.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7631
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Economic incentives
  • Fatal events
  • Health and safety at work
  • Occupational incidents
  • Occupational regulations
  • Surveillance
  • Vigilance
  • Work related injuries
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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