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The At Work Partnership and the Occupational Health [at Work]  journal are delighted to send you our February 2016 occupational health e-mail newsletter, highlighting key OH news.

We do hope you enjoy reading this email newsletter! 
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Tea-breaker: is health and wellbeing an OH priority?
Our January ‘Tea-breaker’ poll asked if OH professionals should spend more time focusing on their ‘traditional’ roles of preventing occupational exposure, ensuring fitness for work and helping those off sick back into work, rather than on the holistic health and wellbeing of the workforce.
The question divided opinion, with only a small majority (53%) arguing that the world of work has changed and that addressing wider health risks in the workforce and promoting wellbeing is now a vital component of OH.
Two in five practitioners (40%) agree that the ‘workplace wellness agenda’ dilutes the role of OH and takes the focus away from its core components. Seven per cent of respondents were undecided on the issue.
Further analysis of the survey will be published in the April/May edition of Occupational Health [at Work].

CIPD calls for more action on wellbeing
There is an ‘implementation gap’ between understanding the need to address employee wellbeing and what employers are actually doing about it, a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) concludes. ‘An effective employee wellbeing programme should be at the core of how an organisation fulfils its mission and carries out its operations and not consist of one-off initiatives,’ it says.

Workplace violence in the retail sector
Over 240 shop workers are assaulted every day across the UK, a survey conducted by the trade union Usdaw reveals. The poll of over 5,000 retail staff also revealed that 33% of shop workers had been threatened by customers over the past year and that 53% had been verbally abused. The research was carried out as part of the union’s Freedom From Fear campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse against workers.

Sickness absence in England’s NHS
Lord Carter of Coles has called for a ‘national people strategy and implementation plan’ to help improve productivity and performance in the NHS. His independent report for the Department of Health also calls for improved management of sickness absence, which varies ‘from 2.7% to 5.8%’ between trusts. A ‘common definition and improved collection of data’ are required, the report says, along with improved working practices to motivate and support staff when they return to work. High rates of alleged bullying and harassment also need to be addressed.

IOSH appoints occupational physician as chair of trustees
Occupational physician Dr Bill Gunnyeon is the new chair of trustees for the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Gunnyeon is past president of the faculty of Occupational Medicine and former chief medical adviser at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Council in hot water after Legionella death
Reading Borough Council (RBC) has been fined £100,000 with £20,000 costs for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, following the death of a pensioner from exposure to Legionella at one of its care homes. A 95-year old man was staying at the council’s The Willow’s care home, while recovering from a broken leg. According to the Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, there were systematic failures in the maintenance of the shower plumbing and inadequate training of staff.

Occupational hearing loss
Up to one-fifth of hearing loss among workers is caused by occupational noise exposure, a systematic review published in the International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health concludes. Occupational hearing loss is greatest in those working in industry, shipbuilding, construction, the military and farming, with risk primarily related to the degree of noise exposure and whether or not hearing protection is used. Impulse noise tends to be more harmful than continuous noise at the same level. Overall, most hearing loss is due to increasing age, with men losing more hearing with age than women.
Research Plus
The latest Research Plus is available free of charge on our website

Research Plus, funded by a grant from the British Occupational Health Research Foundation, is freely available to all OH professionals. It is published as part of the Occupational Health [at Work] journal. It highlights original research and systematic reviews from a wide range of current publications meeting evidence quality criteria. 

Please visit to search all of the articles in Research Plus free of charge from 2007 to the present day.
The February/March 2016 issue looked at some of the latest research in a number of areas, including carpal tunnel syndrome, upper limb disorders, and hepatitis B and C treatment. An example of one of the articles is given below:

More than one in four physicians in training have depression or depressive symptoms at any one time, according to this meta-analysis of 31 cross-sectional studies and 23 longitudinal studies, with a combined total of over 17,500 individuals. Depression or depressive symptoms were mostly measured using self-report questionnaires; just three papers used clinical interviews. The overall prevalence of either depression or depressive symptoms was 28.8% (CI 25.3%–32.5%), though estimates varied depending on the type of assessment tool used – 21% for the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire to 43% for the two-item PRIME-MD – and tended to be higher in studies of low methodological quality. Prevalence estimates from US studies did not differ significantly from those conducted elsewhere. Analysis of longitudinal studies found a significant increase (16%) in symptoms within one year of starting training.
JAMA 2015.

To read all of the articles in the latest issue of Research Plus, please visit our website.

Occupational Health [at Work] subscriber information. The latest issue of Occupational Health [at Work] was mailed out on 5 February 2016. View the contents pages here.
Your colleagues can subscribe to this email newsletter free of charge by clicking on this link.
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Conference news
from The At Work Partnership

OH Report Writing
19 April 2016 - Manchester
24 June 2016 - Edinburgh
How to prepare concise, well-written OH reports that will provide quality information for managers, be understood by employees, and be defensible if the information contained in them is ever required in legal proceedings.
Book and pay 6 weeks before the workshop and save £50 + VAT! 

Certificate in Occupational Health Law
Part one: 27-29 April 2016
Part two: 19 -20 May 2016


This qualification, accredited by Glasgow Caledonian University, is designed to give you an in-depth understanding of occupational health law at work.
Book and pay by 1/3/16 and save £100 + VAT!

The OH Nurse
13 May 2016 

A new seminar on occupational health nursing – focusing on four important areas:
> Revalidation
> Professional indemnity
> Effective clinical audits
> Business skills

Book by 1/3/16 and save £70 + VAT!
Reduced rates for self-funded delegates

Certificate in OH Case Management
7-9 June 2016

This qualification, accredited by Glasgow Caledonian University, is designed to train occupational health and other professionals in the theory and practice of case management skills – in order to improve absence management, job retention and return-to-work outcomes.
Book and pay by 8/4/16 and save £100 + VAT!


OH jobs

Occupational Health Nurse Advisor
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire Police

Closing date  for applications:
28 February 2016

Senior Occupational Health Advisor
Roodlane Medical

Closing date  for applications:
18 March 2016

Occupational Health Physicians
Maitland Medical

A variety of other vacancies from
Key People

To see the full list of OH vacancies, please click here.

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Occupational Health [at Work]

Occupational Health [at Work] is a bi-monthly journal covering the science, law and practice of occupational health. Clearly written and meticulously researched, it is a unique publication designed to provide you with the legal, practical and management OH information you need in your work.
Occupational Health [at Work] is now available online offering:

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  • Access to the feature articles and Research Plus (summaries of key evidence-based research) published in the preceding three years from 2007-2010.

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