Occupational Asthma

Pre-employment guidelines re asthmatics for use in screening (PEGASUS): evidence base for removing discrimination against asthmatics at work

The BOHRF Board agreed to fund the dissemination phase of ongoing work to produce evidence based guidance to be used by occupational health professionals and employers in the pre-employment assessment of people with asthma. This condition affects 5.8 million working people in the UK alone. The project was led by Dr Paul Cullinan of the National Heart and Lung Institute.

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Detergent enzyme sensitisation and asthma at work:
exposure response relationship

Follow-up research relevant to the general management of allergens at work. Completed in September 2005, the aims were:

  • to measure the success of the factory's improvement programme in the prevention of enzyme sensitisation and asthma
  • to identify the quantitative nature of the relationship between enzyme exposures and the development of IgE sensitisation and asthma
  • to explore the reasons for the original failure of control, which are likely to have significant implications for enzyme usage

BOHRF grant for this work £20,592.

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Occupational Asthma – identification, management and prevention:
evidence based review and guidelines

The award winning systematic evidence review on occupational asthma, published in 2004, has had a major update to take account of the considerable amount of relevant research published since 2004.

The original award winning project was a key action point of the UK Occupational Asthma Board. There are over 3,500 new cases of occupational asthma each year in the UK, where it is the most frequent lung disease. It is the most common cause of occupational respiratory disease in the developed world, and the second most common globally (after pneumoconiosis). The key objectives of this project were to:

  • improve the identification of occupational asthma by GP's and practice based nurses, allowing earlier intervention to substantially reduce its severity
  • provide an evidence base for a more robust and effective approach to health surveillance
  • enable better management of the risk of this disease

Deliverables (available in hard copy or as free downloads via the links below) include:

Prof Tony Newton Smith at the London launch

Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor at the London launch

The project won the BUPA Health at Work Award for 2005. In the words of Andrew Vallance-Owen, BUPA Group Medical Director:

“A world first that tackles a major health problem in the workplace. A forward-thinking, groundbreaking project that will offer hope to hundreds of workers and change their lives.”

A related article Evidence based guidelines for the prevention, identification, and management of occupational asthma by P J Nicholson, P Cullinan, A J Newman Taylor, P S Burge and C Boyle has been published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine (May 05 edition).

Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor is the head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital




See also The Royal College of Physicians Concise Guidance

Last Update: 28-Jul-2013