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January 20, 2012

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Recession deals a body-blow to occupational-health research

A research body that has funded some of the most important studies in the field of occupational health and safety in the last 20 years has announced it is to wind down because of a lack of financial support in the current economic climate.

The British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) is a small charity that depends on financial contributions from sponsors for its core funding. This week, the Foundation’s chair, Sir Bill Callaghan, announced that given the financial situation, it will not be seeking any further sponsorship income “in 2012 and beyond”.

Sir Bill emphasised that all existing commitments to fund projects – including an evaluation of a pilot fit-for-work service, a study of the effectiveness of employee assistance programmes, and a review of health risks in the waste and recycling industry – will be honoured.

The Foundation, which would have celebrated its 21st anniversary in May this year, has as its mission to bring employers and employees together to produce research that will contribute to good employee health and performance at work.

Looking back over the work that it has funded and facilitated, Sir Bill said there is “much to be proud of – in particular, the rigorous evidence-based reviews. . .that have provided practical guidance, with a sound scientific base, for employers that has been of benefit to employees, as well as the bottom line”.

On behalf of the BOHRF’s Board of Trustees, he thanked all the sponsors and researchers who have contributed to its work, adding that the Board will continue to oversee the Foundation’s work “and consider the appropriate next steps as it winds down its activities”.

Dr Luise Vassie, IOSH executive director of policy, said: “IOSH has always been impressed by the quality of BOHRF’s research. The Foundation has contributed significantly over the years to the health of people at work, and to helping cut the costs of occupational ill health.

“It’s why IOSH has provided sponsorship to BOHRF since 2002 and is happy to continue doing so. So it’s hugely disappointing to hear that BOHRF has been unable to secure the level of financial contributions required to take on new research projects. Research in the area of occupational health plays such an important role in helping our economy.”

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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