Freelance

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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
April 27, 2018

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Go Home Healthy: Spotlight on occupational-lung disease

Every year around 12,000 people in the UK die from work-related lung disease.

The issue of occupational lung disease remains such a big issue that it forms a key part of the HSE’s Go Home Healthy campaign, which was launched last September and aims to shine a light on the causes of work-related ill-health and encourages employers to do the right thing and protect the health of their staff.

Statistics

Figures from the HSE show there are also an estimated 14,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work each year, which result in the loss of at least 400,000 working days.

And estimates from the 2013/14 to 2015/16 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 36,000 people who worked in the previous year reported lung or breathing problems that were caused or made worse by work.

Labour Force Survey figures also show that around 147,000 who have ever worked currently have breathing or lung problems.

And while some conditions, like work-related asthma and legionella infections develop shortly after exposure, others like pneumoconiosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer may develop years later, which makes evaluating the number of people affected even harder.

Solutions

In order to combat this issue, the HSE has developed a health priority plan, which calls for significant improvements in preventing and controlling exposure, especially in construction, manufacturing, quarries, mines, waste and recycling.

The plan also calls for more national, cross-sector leadership on eliminating occupational lung diseases and better education for the next generation of workers.

The HSE has also established the Healthy Lung Partnership, which brings together government departments, trade bodies and third sector groups to tackle the issue.

According to the HSE, the aim of the partnership is to become a “recognised presence” in the occupational health world by “engaging and influencing other stakeholders” across Great Britain.

“The partnership shares, promotes and encourages good control practice in the workplace to prevent and reduce exposure to hazardous substances that damage the lungs,” the HSE states.

Asbestos app

The HSE has also developed a Beware Asbestos web app to help bosses and workers identify safe and correct procedures for asbestos work.

The online tool also provides information on the types of work that can be carried out without a licence.

The HSE also has a comprehensive online guide to preventing work-related lung disease.

Speaking at the launch of the Go Home Healthy campaign last year, the chair of the HSE, Martin Temple said it is about “driving behavioural change in workplaces so we can all go home healthy”.

“The importance of more joined-up thinking across industries when it comes to tackling work-related health cannot be overstated,” he added.

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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.

stress

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