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National Occupational Health Surveillance

National Occupational Health Surveillance (NOA) is organized as a department at the National Institute of Occupational Health (STAMI).

NOA’s tasks are to coordinate, systematize, and disseminate knowledge about working environments and health to public authorities, social partners, and stakeholders. This knowledge should help decision-makers to design targeted actions that will prevent work-related ill health, injuries, exclusion from the labour market and death.

NOA’s main objectives are to:

  • Collect and improve relevant data and information and make them accessible
  • Evaluate and disseminate the most important information to the public
  • Produce regular reports to the Government and the Parliament to enable them to take informed political action
  • Improve the basis on which the government and industries prioritize target groups, action areas, and strategies

NOA is going to serve:

  • Political and labour inspection authorities
  • The parties involved in the labour market; businesses and trade unions
  • Scientists and research groups
  • The general public

Surveillance of occupational health and safety requires access to information on health outcomes (e.g., occupational diseases and injuries, work-related morbidity and mortality, and occupational disability), hazards or exposures (e.g., chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial factors) and relevant background factors.

Surveillance activity involves data on labour force demographics, the occurrence and distribution of health hazards on Norwegian workplaces, work-related health outcomes including injuries, and activities aimed at modifying or elimination of risks.

Our main challenges are to make data originally obtained for purposes other than occupational health surveillance relevant to our users, and to ensure correspondence between individual data from different sources, e.g., to link data on industries and occupational titles from national labour market statistics with data on work-related complaints, illnesses, diseases and injuries. We obtain data on sickness certification and disability pensions from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration records.

Every third year, Statistics Norway conducts a population survey with a modified panel design and a sample size of around 20,000, providing the surveillance system with both cross-sectional and longitudinal data of particular interest for trend analyses. Following this our webpage is updated and NOA writes a report called «Faktabok om arbeidsmiljø- og helse», where data from the mentioned population survey and other relevant data are included to present current status and trends for all exposures and health outcomes relevant to the work environment.

NOA also produces sector profiles called NOA+. These sector profiles are simplified summaries of work environment facts for the various business sectors in the Norwegian work life. NOA+ provides an overview of some of the most important working environment challenges in a specific sector, in addition to the prevalence of health problems and work-related sickness absence in the given sector. This knowledge  makes it easier to work in a targeted manner to create good working environments. NOA is continuously working to develop new sector profiles and making these available to the Norwegian work life.