The At Work Partnership and the Occupational Health [at Work] journal are delighted to send you our January 2017 occupational health email newsletter, highlighting key OH news.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has upheld a Spanish regional police service’s bar on accepting recruits above the age of 35 years. The age discrimination was justified because physical fitness was a ‘genuine and determining occupational requirement’ for the role of a regional police officer. The case (Gorka Salaberria Sorondo v Academia Vasca de Policía y Emergencias) had been referred to the CJEU by the Basque High Court for a ruling on the interpretation of various provisions of the European equality framework directive (2000/78/EC).
European working conditions survey
A fifth of workers in Europe (22%) have to work in their free time to meet work demands several times a month, the sixth European Working Conditions Study has found. It also reported that structural inequalities and differences in terms of gender, employment status and occupation are still significant for workers in Europe. To gauge working conditions, the study examined physical environment, work intensity, working time quality, social environment, skills and discretion, and prospects and earnings.
Work and health green paper consultation meeting
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine and the Society of Occupational Medicine will host a consultation meeting to discuss the work, health and disability green paper. The meeting, on 31 January 2017, will be held at The Principal Hotel in York. The outcome of the discussions will be fed back to the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions. Contact Natalie.Elmitt@som.org.uk
Mental health as an asset
People with mental health problems made an estimated £226 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP in 2015, according to a report looking at how mental health issues in the workplace can be framed differently. The report Added value: mental health as a workplace asset
recommends that employers ‘value the diversity and transferable skills that the lived experience of mental health problems brings’.
Flu vaccines for healthcare workers
Over half (55.5%) of all eligible frontline healthcare workers in England have been vaccinated against seasonal influenza in the current campaign, figures from Public Health England show. This represents 533,389 vaccinations, the highest registered uptake when compared with previous winters, and has already surpassed the final uptake figure of 50.6% for the 2015/16 season.
GMC guidance on confidentiality
The General Medical Council (GMC) is expected to publish a new edition of its guidance on confidentiality at the end of January. As in the previous edition, it is likely to include information on how doctors should ensure confidentiality when receiving requests for information from employers and insurers and to reinforce the need to obtain a patient’s explicit consent in these circumstances. The GMC has spent two years revising the guidance, previously published in 2009.
Work-related stress, musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and occupational lung disease are priorities in the HSE’s recently published Health and Work strategy
. Stress and MSK disorders account for around 80% of all working time lost due to illness, according to the HSE. It also reports that there are around 12,000 deaths each year from occupational lung disease. The trade union Prospect has welcomed the report. Its deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: ‘The government’s 2011 policy document, Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone
, said almost nothing about occupational illness or disease, so the new strategy is a step forward.’
Why occupational health?
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) and the Society of Occupational Medicine have launched a campaign, #WhyOccupationalHealth
, to raise the profile of occupational medicine and occupational health to other clinicians and key stakeholders across the health and work sectors. The FOM is asking OH practitioners to submit stories to the campaign to demonstrate the impact of their work in the past 12 months. The stories will be shared on the campaign website
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