The 78th National Conference of the Italian Society of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene (SIMLII) was held in Milan on November 25-27, 2015

Within this conference, Prof. Claudio Colosio of the University of Milan organised a Modernet session to promote the aims of the network for the development of new techniques for discovering trends in occupational and work-related diseases and tracing new and emerging risks.

The session started with the description of the Modernet network performed by Prof. Colosio. He illustrated the development of this network from the first meeting in Amsterdam in 2011 to the final one held in Bologna in 2014 including the support of the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) programme for the period 2010-2014 and the constitution of the Modernet association occurred on November 2015. Finally, he highlighted the achievements and milestones reached during the all period like the publication of the Special Issue on Modernet in the journal of Occupational Medicine.

Then, Prof. Raymond Agius of the University of Manchester described The Health and Occupation Research network –namely THOR – in the UK and the Republic of Ireland which is an integrated system of surveillance schemes collecting work-related ill-health data since 1989. THOR provides information on disease incidence, trends in incidence and the identification of new hazards.

On behalf of Dr. Annet Lenderink, Prof. Lode Godderis and Dr. Vincent Bonneterre, Dr. Stefan Mandic-Rajcevic of the University of Milan presented the SIGNAAL tool developed in the Netherlands and Belgium and the OccWatch system developed in France. The online SIGNAAL tool was developed to report and assess new work-related health risks by occupational health physicians and experts in the Netherlands and Belgium. In France, the OccWatch system was aimed to capture case reports of potentially new work-related diseases.

Dr. Giuseppe Campo of the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL) illustrated the surveillance system of occupational diseases in Italy, namely MALPROF. The MALPROF system is aimed at identifying possible associations between occupational risks and diseases and it can contribute to the development of preventive measures.

Last but not least, Prof. Stefano Mattioli of the University of Bologna encouraged to increase the quality of collection of literature data on occupational diseases and to develop efficient PubMed search filters to help assess the existence of putative occupational determinants of diseases. Finally, he underlined the relevance of the definition of the level of evidence needed to define the occupational origin of a disease.

All the Modernet presentations were well received by the Italian audience.