The role of health problems and drug treatments in accidental injury at work

Various common health problems and their associated treatments may, in theory, increase the risk of accidental injury at work. Employers need an evidence base, both to ensure the physical safety of their workers and third parties, and to avoid needless restrictions on work opportunity, especially in older workers. Using a research database from primary care, based on the GP medical records of 6% of the British population over a 20-year period, we have analysed the associations between certain medical problems (epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, various mental health disorders, impairments of hearing and vision, problems of balance, and drugs which may affect arousal and concentration) and injuries at work about which patients consulted their GPs or hospital services. Moderately increased risks of workplace injury were found for several mental health problems and their treatments, and for problems of vision, hearing and balance; but no important elevation in risk from diabetes, epilepsy, or their complications or treatments. This report argues against blanket exclusion of individuals on health grounds and calls instead for individualised risk assessment. It also provides estimates of the extent to which risks are modified by health problems, on the average, to inform risk assessment. Caution in occupational placements may be warranted in some ‘high risk' jobs.

Source: https://www.iosh.co.uk/medication

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