INTRODUCTION. The seafood industry is the largest industry in Greenland. Work-related diseases and accidents appear to constitute health risks in this sector. The aim was to describe the prevalence of work-related diseases and accidents among workers in the seafood industry in Greenland.
METHODS. Data from 311 workers included a questionnaire, lung function measurements, skin prick tests, blood samples, clinical examinations, personal inhalable dust samples and stationary dust measurements. Accident risk was evaluated by work site observations and safety walks. Statistical analyses included mean values and percentage distribution.
RESULTS. Exposure levels were highest in shrimp production; 16.1% were sensitised to snow crab, 10.1% to shrimp and 0.3% to fish; 5.2% had probable occupational asthma. Regarding accidents, the annual incidence rate per 100 workers was 10.3%.
CONCLUSIONS. Workers in the seafood industry in Greenland have a high prevalence of sensitisation to work-related allergens and occupational asthma closely related to high exposures to shrimp and snow crab allergens. The rate of severe workplace injuries was high. Preventive measures are required.
FUNDING. The Health Science Research Council; The Work Environment Council of Greenland; The Greenlandic Workers’ Union; Greenland Business Association; Royal Greenland; Polar Seafood; The BANK of Greenland; The Danish Working Environment Research Fund.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. The Scientific Ethical Committee for Greenland (2015-11317); The Danish Data Protection Agency, the Central Denmark Region (2012-58-006).