Occupational health news brief

Mind doubts fit test

People with mental health problems who are frequently unable to complete more than two tasks in a row could be assessed as fit for work, under revisions to the sickness benefit test outlined by the government, a mental health charity has warned. Mind said it had “grave concerns” that the Work Capability Assessment, the current test for Employment and Support Allowance, was not sophisticated enough to accurately measure when someone’s mental health affected their ability to work.

Back pain care key

A programme of integrated care, directed at the patient and the workplace, can help people with chronic low back pain return to work, on average, four months earlier than those receiving usual care, a study on the website bmj.com has argued. The Dutch and Canadian study of 134 patients found that, over a 12-month period, patients who received integrated care returned to sustainable work after an average of 88 days, as opposed to 208 days.

Joint event success

The second joint conference of Association of Occupational Health Nurse Educators, National Forum for School Health Educators and United Kingdom Standing Conference on Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Education was held in March. The conference, which will run again next year, focused on “public health nursing around the UK” and the key speaker was Professor Marcus Longley, director of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care.

Online hygiene training

The Occupational Hygiene Training Association, a new organisation working under the guidance of the International Occupational Hygiene Association, has launched a website to host international training modules and materials. The site, www.OHLearning.com, includes free course materials for international occupational hygiene training modules.

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