Saf Health Work.  2021 Mar;12(1):74-95. 10.1016/

Reconstruction of the Korean Asbestos Job Exposure Matrix

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Preventive and Occupational Medicine, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
  • 3Environmental Health Center for Asbestos, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam, Republic of Korea
  • 4Colorbot Co., Busan, Republic of Korea
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea


A job-exposure matrix (JEM) is an important surrogate indicator to evaluate past exposure levels. Although a Korean asbestos JEM has been constructed previously, this JEM includes only a few industrial and occupational groups. This study aimed to reconstruct the JEM by integrating the latest organized data to improve its utility.
We used recent Korean standard industry and occupation codes and extracted 36 articles from a systematic literature review to initiate the reconstruction of the previous Korean asbestos JEM. The resulting data consisted of 141 combinations of industrial and occupational groups. Data from the Netherlands's JEM were also reviewed and categorized into 70 industrial and 117 occupational groups by matching with the Korean data. We also utilized Germany's data, which consisted of 10 industrial and 14 occupational groups.
The reconstructed Korean asbestos JEM had 141 combinations of industries and occupations. The time periods are from the 1980s to the 2000s in 10-year intervals. Most of the data were distributed between the 1990s and the 2000s. Occupations with high exposure to asbestos included knitting and weaving machine operators, automobile mechanics or assemblers, ship mechanics or assemblers, mineral ore and stone products processing mechanics, and metal casting machine operators or mold makers.
The reconstructed Korean asbestos JEM has expanded the type and duration of the occupational groups of the previous JEM and can serve as an important reference tool for evaluating asbestos exposure and designing compensation and prevention policies in Korea.


asbestos; job-exposure matrix; occupational exposure; Korea
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