July 23, 2024 | 9:50


Increase in occupational diseases in Bizkaia: Tennis elbow and hearing loss

Maria Jose Gonzalez

May 4, 2024 | 6:30 p.m.

The increase in cases of 'tennis elbow' and hearing loss

In 2022, the Basque Country has experienced a notable increase in reports of suspected occupational diseases, with a growth of 26% compared to the previous year, according to data provided by the Basque Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Osalan). This increase reflects greater awareness and reporting by medical professionals and prevention services, but also highlights a worrying trend in the workplace. 'Tennis elbow' or epicondylitis leads the list with 80 reports, followed closely by hearing loss, with 74 cases reported, indicating a persistent problem related to working conditions and occupational health.

Response of medical services and prevention

The staff of Osakidetza, the public health system of the Basque Country, has been the main notifier of these diseases, with 295 communications in 2022, evidencing their crucial role in the detection and reporting of these conditions. However, there is a significant discrepancy in the perception of occupational diseases, as some cases are not adequately reported, leading to non-compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.

Musculoskeletal diseases and carpal tunnel syndrome have also been frequently reported, highlighting the need to improve ergonomic conditions in workplaces. Furthermore, the emergence of cases of tumors related to agents such as asbestos is especially alarming and requires immediate action to eliminate these risks from the work environment.

Challenges and proposed measures

Given this situation, it is imperative that both Osakidetza and prevention services adopt a more rigorous and coordinated approach to guarantee the health of workers. Continuing training, improving safety protocols and occupational health surveillance are essential steps to prevent and manage occupational diseases. In addition, it is essential that an adequate investigation is carried out in each case, to ensure that working conditions do not put the health of employees at risk.

The role of entities like Osalan is crucial in this process, since they must verify that the pathologies meet the established criteria and that companies follow prevention recommendations. Effective communications and collaboration between all the actors involved are essential to improve safety and health at work in the Basque Country.

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