The pattern of recognised diseases for which compensation will be given does not reflect the real situation in workplaces. At an EU-OSHA workshop on the burden of work-related disease, it was reported that, despite reporting obligations and open occupational disease lists, there is often no system in place to actively identify, target and respond to potential case reports of work-related disease. Sentinel systems can help overcome this problem by pooling reports from a large number of informed and trained ‘sentinel’ physicians or other trained experts (e.g. occupational nurses).
Monitoring reports of work-related diseases that are considered early warning signs can help to identify situations or workplaces where occupational safety and health management needs to be improved. EU-OSHA has published research on alert and sentinel systems to catch early signs of work-related diseases: