Musculoskeletal and stress top of work-related illness

Musculoskeletal disorders and stress remain the top two causes of work-related illness, according to the latest figures from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Jobs carrying the highest risk of musculoskeletal disorders, as assessed by rheumatologists in 2001-03, were plate metalworkers, shipwrights and riveters. These had an annual incidence rate approximately 40 times the 2.6 per cent average.

By comparison, typists were 18 times the average and road construction workers 16 times the average.

Consultant psychiatrists reported that non-commissioned officers and other ranks in the UK armed forces had the highest incidence rate of work-related mental ill health. They were about 15 times the overall average, followed by medical practitioners, on 12 times.

Other types of illnesses with significant numbers of cases reported by doctors or compensated by the Government included asthma and pneumoconiosis.

Contact dermatitis and other skin diseases, diarrhoeal and other infections and disorders relating to vibration or noise were also common.
Vehicle spray painters had the highest estimated incidence rate for occupational asthma in 2001-03, at roughly 80 times the average.

Floral arrangers and florists had the highest rate for contact dermatitis (14 times the average) and care assistants/home carers were 25 times the average for occupational infections.

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