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May 5, 2008

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Ray Hurst warns of the costs of asthma on World Asthma Day

IOSH president Ray Hurst marked World Asthma Day today by highlighting the fact that occupational asthma continues to be a major issue in the workplace, costing 18 million working days each year. Over the course of a decade, this is estimated to cost £1.1 billion.

Ray commented: “Asthma is a nasty and potentially life-threatening condition for sufferers, but it’s often forgotten about. How many of us can say that we know which of our colleagues have asthma? And how many of us would know what to do if a colleague suddenly suffered an attack?

“Work is, unfortunately, a known cause of asthma. HSE estimates between 1,500 and 3,000 people develop occupational asthma each year, rising to 7,000 if you include the number of people who suffer asthma made worse by their work.

“Asthma is something we all need to be more aware of. If you are an asthma sufferer, make your colleagues aware of your condition, and if they’re doing something that might trigger an attack make them aware of this.”

According to the HSE, the riskiest jobs for occupational asthma are:

€� Moulders

€� Core makers

€� Die casters

€� Vehicle spray painters

€� Bakers

€� Flour confectioners

Ray added: “But it’s not just these jobs that can cause asthma. Office workers exposed to dust or excess stress can develop asthma. But if you are already asthmatic and work in these highly susceptible jobs, make sure your employer protects you properly from things that could trigger an attack.”

To help employers, IOSH has produced an occupational health toolkit with a section on respiratory disease (see link below).

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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