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In our monthly update on key research studies on workplace health, Sarah Silcox summarises new findings on issues including the cancer risks of metalwork fluids and how stress can cause eczema.
Doctors under-report their own sickness absence
Doctors under-report their own sick leave, according to a comparative analysis of self- and employer-reported sickness absence periods lasting four days or more occurring in two consecutive six-month periods. Self-reported absence among the 607 doctors in the sample was 1.2%, compared with a rate of 0.6% obtained from employer data.
Murphy IJ. “Self-reported and employer-recorded sickness absence in doctors”. Occupational Medicine, first published online 2 July 2014.
Metalworking fluids increase bladder cancer risk
Exposure to metalworking fluids (MWFs) is associated with a significantly increased bladder cancer risk, according to a case-control study of New England workers. The risk was 1.7 times higher among workers using straight MWFs, but also significantly higher among those using soluble MWFs. Non-metalworkers in jobs with possible exposure to mineral oil also had a 40% increased risk of bladder cancer, adjusting for smoking and other factors.
Colt JS et al. “A case-control study of occupational exposure to metalworking fluids and bladder cancer risk among men”. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, first published online 20 June 2014.
Stress a factor in occupational hand eczema
Chronic stress is an additional risk factor for occupational hand eczema (OHE), according to a study of 122 patients. OHE symptoms were more severe among patients experiencing greater stress and burnout, with women reporting higher levels of chronic stress on some measures. There was a correlation between sickness absence and individual measures of job-related stress, and with an overall measure of chronic stress, prompting the authors to recommend that: “prevention and rehabilitation should take job stress into consideration in multidisciplinary treatment strategies for severely affected OHE patients”.
Bohm D et al. “Severe occupational hand eczema, job stress and cumulative sickness absence”. Occupational Medicine, first published online 2 July 2014.
Firefighters at higher risk of cancer
Firefighters have a high risk of contracting mesothelioma, according to two recent studies reviewed in this analysis. It conclu