Report reveals lung disease impact on British workforce

COMPACT user and nurse
Around 14,000 British workers had lung problems caused or made worse by their working conditions last year, according to a new report. Published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the 2016 respiratory disease overview highlighted the scale of the problem for workers and employers across the country.

Lung disease is by far the biggest workplace killer in Britain, with around 90 per cent of work-related deaths caused by exposure to agents such as gases, fumes, and dusts. About 12,000 deaths are caused by occupational respiratory diseases in Britain every year, two-thirds of which are due to asbestos-related conditions such as mesothelioma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).Current cases of long-latency diseases such as cancer and occupational COPD reflect the working conditions of the past, the report said, but added that the causes of the diseases are still present in many workplaces.

Occupational lung disease has been made one of the three main themes in the HSE’s new Health and Work Strategy, which was launched on December 15 with the aim of improving occupational health standards and reducing sickness absence in the UK.

In 1962 Vitalograph was commissioned by the Medical Research Council Pneumoconiosis Panel to develop the world’s first portable spirometer to screen coal miners for ‘Black Lung’. Today, Vitalograph continues to serve the occupational health community with a wide range of innovative, high performance devices including spirometers, respiratory monitors and screeners and spirometry training workshops.

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