News

This
month’s news in brief

Mancunians
take the most sick leave

Mancunians
take the most days off sick, with an average of 11 days a year, according to
law firm Peninsula. In its survey of 4,300 workers, Edinburgh and Dublin came
second and third, with Londoners, on seven days, taking the least number of
days off. Food poisoning, back problems, colds and flu were the most common
reasons given for absence.

Recurring
back pain

Lower
back pain is a persistent, recurrent problem among nurses, a study in the
journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine has concluded. The Swiss study
of 269 nurses over eight years found the annual prevalence of lower back pain
was between 73 to 76 per cent. Thirty-eight per cent reported the same
intensity of pain throughout the year.  (Ref:
OEM 2003;60:497-503)

HSE
website for mums

A
website to help protect new and expectant mothers’ health and safety at work
has been launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A variety of
guidance, including A guide for new and expectant mothers who work, is
available on the website.   www.hse.gov.uk/mothers

Hand
washing pilot

Aintree
Hospitals NHS Trust in Liverpool has been chosen as one of six pilot sites for
a new hand cleaning campaign by the National Patient Safety Agency. The trust
will test a new toolkit designed to encourage more hand washing by staff,
patients and visitors on two wards.

Fall
factors published

Research
on the underlying factors for falls from height in the workplace has been
published by the Health and Safety Executive. Falls from height – prevention
and risk control effectiveness gives employers a baseline for measuring
improvements, a model of influences and a toolkit for taking action.

Prison
staff stressed

Chronic
overcrowding in UK prisons has led to a huge rise in stress and sickness
absence among prison officers. Figures from the Liberal Democrats show the
rising prison population has led to a 34 per cent increase in warders’ sickness
absence, with 115,000 days a year being lost to ill health

On-site
deaths rise

There
were 26 deaths in the construction industry between 1 April and 30 June, when
the death toll prompted Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to call a ‘safety
summit’, according to construction workers’ union UCATT. Twelve fatalities were
falls from height, four people were struck by moving vehicles, four were killed
by collapsing or overturning objects, and six died from other causes.

Possible
link to cancer

The
possibility that shift work can increase the potential for women to contract
breast cancer needs further study, according to a report by the Health and
Safety Executive. A study by Professor Anthony Swerd-low, of the Institute of
Cancer Research, found evidence for an association was "appreciable, but
not definitive".

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