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This month's round-up of recently published occupational health research looks at the risks run by journalists in their working life, the complexity of assessing whether stress is work-related and other topics.
Journalism “more dangerous than ever”
Journalism has never been more dangerous and journalists say that they have never felt so unsafe doing their jobs. Globally, 1,480 journalists and media workers have died doing their jobs over the past 10 years. This is the stark conclusion of a report into the changing state of media safety, based on a survey of individuals and analysis of incidents around the world. Local journalists working in conflict zones are particularly at risk, the report finds. Some media organisations have stepped up the personal protection provided to foreign correspondents by providing more and better training and equipment, but often freelancers and local journalists are excluded from these measures. While technology is helping journalists deliver their message, it can also make them vulnerable to those entities, including terrorist groups, that are intent on tracking them down and causing harm.
Clifford L.The changing state of media safety. International News Safety Institute.
Work and stress
Attributing an employee’s mental ill health to work is complex and needs to take into account workplace
stressors and factors related to an individual’s vulnerability, according to a Delphi study. The researchers invited academics, OH physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists to reach a consensus around a set of workplace and personal factors associated with stress, deeming that agreement was reached when 66% or more of the experts concurred on a particular factor. Consensus was reached on 11 workplace stressors, including the well-recognised high job strain and effort/reward imbalance, but also for organisational injustice, work scheduling and threats to job security. Seven personal factors were identified as important in attributing mental ill health, including: previous mental illness; personality traits of neuroticism; and adverse life events. The study concludes that “clinical consultation with an occupational physician who is familiar with the workplace is central to the process”.
Wong MHP et al. “Attribution of mental illness to w