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APPRaisal of the health of new ENTrants Into the workplace: The APPRENTICE Study Professor Jon Ayres, University of Birmingham

Smoking cessation in the workplace: an evidence based review Professor David Fishwick, Health and Safety Laboratory

Review of health risks for workers in the waste and recycling industry: Dr Alison Searl, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh

This study was commissioned by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation on the behalf of the Environmental Services Association Education Trust (ESAET). In recent years the waste and recycling industry has moved away from its reliance on disposal in landfill to much higher levels of recycling and recovery. In addition, new materials and technologies are entering the waste chain. These changes are likely to have led to significant changes in the nature and magnitude of the associated risks to worker health. The aims of the review were to:

  • Provide a resource that will assist operators in the identification of potential hazards, assessment of the health risks to their workers and implementation of appropriate exposure prevention or control measures;
  • Identify which of the occupational health issues selected by ESAET for review are associated with the industry’s main activities and provide the basis for compiling risk assessments and identifying appropriate control measures; and
  • Identify any occupational health issues that present unacceptable levels of risk (if any), require unique or burdensome control measures or where additional research is required in order to come to a clearer conclusion

The study involved a comprehensive review of relevant published literature and a limited survey of industry representatives about current practice in relation to health surveillance, exposure monitoring and their perceptions of the major health issues. In addition, exposure modelling was undertaken to inform the risk assessments that were undertaken for each of the hazards and processes considered.

The Final Report is available here:

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The wellbeing of mobile personnel: investigating the ergonomic, psychosocial and organisational factors for remote and isolated workers

This innovative research addresses an issue of increasing significance to many employers - the wellbeing of employees who are mostly away from office/work base. The work is designed to provide:

  • Policy recommendations based on evidence for remote/isolated workers
  • Issues that reduce their wellbeing; enabling better risk management
  • Identification of benefits of remote working; enabling better performance

It is relevant to management employees, sales representatives, field engineers, drivers.

Increasing numbers of employers are adopting a business model based on mobile/remote workers. The wellbeing, and thus performance, of such workers is a major gap in research. This work aims to fill that gap and provide employers with an evidence base for effective risk management of mobile/remote workers.

Blackberrys, mobile phones and other technology enable more employees to work remotely from office/work base.

Deliverables of this research include

  • Literature review of research on remote and isolated workers
  • Field interviews to establish concerns to mobile workers
  • The procedural/operational/ergonomic/psychosocial factors relevant to the wellbeing of these workers

The Final Report is available here:

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Influencing GP behaviour in occupational health

This piece of work, also co-funded by BOHRF, was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the BMJ e-learning system for GP CPD in improving GP behaviour. The team led by Dr Chris Barber used the BOHRF evidence guidelines on occupational asthma as the vehicle for this exciting project.

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Managing attendance at work: an evidence based review

pdf  Managing attendance at work: an evidence-based review (Sep 2002)

Project funding from Exxon Mobil enabled this research to be completed in September 2002. It determined the current state of knowledge about the effective management of sickness absence and, having found that there is little published good evidence, identifies gaps in that knowledge, and indicates priorities for future research. A major finding is that there is good published evidence that early and regular contact with those off work sick can reduce the length of their absence.

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The role of macrophage in ultrafine particle-mediated lung injury

This research has substantial implications for people exposed to ultrafine particles (particles below 5 microns in size). It showed that particle size is a factor in the health effects of dust. It provided some of the basis for regulators to consider reviewing health effects of dust at work, and also provided the data for realistic modelling of overload to assist with calculation of required limits for no effect levels of ultrafine particles. It thus also has application in air quality issues.

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The neurotoxicity of paint solvents

This work had substantial practical implications for employees exposed to solvents at work, in particular producing evidence to demonstrate the need for always observing workplace recommended controls despite beliefs that there was no or little risk. The work demonstrated that workers exposed to solvents in paints who believed they were at no or little risk were actually starting to suffer neurological effects as a consequence of not observing recommended controls.

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Last Update: 28-Jul-2013