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April 1, 2014

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Government advisory body calls on health and safety professionals’ support

The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), a statutory scientific advisory body that makes recommendations to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions on the prescription of occupationally related injuries and diseases, is calling on health and safety professionals to help build its evidence base.

The independent body uses scientific evidence to make its recommendations to government on the occupationally related injuries and diseases that are eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).

Its recommendations are published in command papers, which, if accepted are drafted as regulations and passed into law. For the injuries and diseases to be prescribed a condition, they first have to pass the threshold of a doubling of risk exposure in the occupation when compared with the risk to the general population.

In the SHP May issue, Paul Faupel, an employer representative to IIAC and a former IOSH president, explains that in some cases evidence may be persuasive that a condition is occupationally caused but is insufficient to pass this test. In these circumstances, the IIAC publishes a position paper or an information note.

A position paper is an IIAC report that details a review of a specific topic that did not result in recommendations requiring changes to the relevant legislation. An information note is a short summary of an IIAC review that did not result in recommendations for legislative changes and where the evidence base is still emerging, and is likely to change, or where there is insufficient quantity or quality of evidence to warrant a position paper.

The IIAC puts out calls for evidence when it is investigating a particular topic. The advisory body is holding a public meeting in Edinburgh on 19 June and is urging the health and safety profession to contribute to the evidence base. 

“Health and safety professionals are strong and effective networkers and constantly share information and experience, particularly when seeking solutions to problems,” says Mr Faupel. 

“This is potentially a powerful resource for the collection and collation of evidence that could be passed on to the IIAC.”

The Edinburgh meeting will cover a number of topics, including cancers which are difficult to prescribe, presumption — what the changes mean in practice and vibration-related Dupuytren’s contracture. 

To find out more about the IIAC and the public meeting, visit:

Readers can find out more in a forthcoming feature in SHP.

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