Union safety reps are to be trained by the TUC in techniques such as “body mapping” to identify hidden workplace diseases.
Although RSI and stress are now recognised as major problems in the workplace, the TUC says reps need to be constantly alert to the possibility of other new illnesses.
In a report published in the TUC-backed quarterly safety magazine Hazards, union reps are advised to ask colleagues what health problems they are experiencing as part of a strategy to identify previously unknown occupational diseases.
Body mapping involves marking on a map of the body where an individual is experiencing pain. The results are then collated and analysed to see if they can be linked to work undertaken.
According to the TUC, industrial diseases are under-reported to the Government due to a reliance on official disease reports, not studies that ask workers directly about ailments.