month’s news


and frequent travel away from home, and changes in travel dates affecting
family plans, can negatively affect workers’ spouses and children, putting
extra strain on families and contributing to extra worker stress, research has
found. The study of staff at Washington DC’s World Bank Group suggested
practices that take into consideration family activities and give greater
leeway to staff may help.  Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2002; 59: 309-322

unhappy with long hours

are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their long hours, according to a
survey by the Economic and Social Research Council. Out of 2,500 people, only
16 per cent of male professionals and managers said they were completely
satisfied with their hours, compared with 36 per cent in 1992.

workers’ health

public health among NHS workers will be at the centre of debate in September at
a conference being run by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. The
conference, at the Harrogate International Centre between 10 and 13 September,
will be on the theme of "empowering public health". Details are
available from the website

and angina link is spurious

a link between higher stress levels and angina in cases of people admitted to
hospital may not be valid. A study of 27 workplaces in Scotland found the
relation between higher stress, angina, and some categories of hospital
admissions probably resulted from the tendency of participants reporting higher
stress, to also report more symptoms.  "The data suggest that associations between psychosocial
measures and disease outcomes reported from some other studies may be
spurious," it added. BMJ 2002; 324: 1247  

company fined

dockyard company has been fined £10,000 after failing to ensure the health and
safety of two casual employees who were overcome by paint fumes while working
in the hull of a hopper barge. The company, A&P Falmouth, also had to pay
costs of £6,627.40.


are due to Greta Thornbory for a mistake that crept into her article on
terrorism in the June issue of Occupational Health. Mention is made of how
quickly toxins can spread. However, it is of course micro-organisms that
spread, not toxins. We are happy to put the record straight.


free leaflet designed to prevent injuries and ill-health from refrigerant
chemicals used in air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles has been published
by the Health and Safety Executive. Safe working with vehicle air-conditioning
systems can be used as a poster for display in motor vehicle repair garages and
other associated places.  It can be ordered by calling 01787 881165 or online at

and safety reporting increases

on health and safety among FTSE-100 companies increased from 47 per cent in
1995 to 60 per cent last year, the Health and Safety Commission says. But the
quality of reporting varies greatly, with some firms simply confirming their
commitment to comply with the law. HSC chairman Bill Callaghan has called for
companies to be more transparent in their reporting processes.

OH records

During the morning forum discussion, an interesting question was raised on
the feasibility of passing employees’ OH records to their next employer, in the
same way a doctor can pass on a patient’s medical notes to a new GP. One
delegate recommended handing employees a copy of their own OH notes when they
left. Jane Lewis commented that this is sensible advice, because giving
individuals the responsibility to hold their own records falls within the
requirements of the Data Protection Act.

Sickness absence

Employers generally underestimate the true cost of sickness absence,
according to a recent report by income protection insurance company
UnumProvident. Presenting the results, Dr Peter Dewis, director of medical
services for the company, said that while long-term absence accounts for only a
minority of spells of absence, it may account for 75 per cent of the total

Lynn Faulds Wood

The association’s patron Lynn Faulds Wood chaired the Symposium. She left
her award-winning television presenting career to run the charity Beating Bowel
Cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in 1991.

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