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RR501 - Triggers for non-specific symptoms in the workplace

Individual differences, stress and environmental (odour and sound) factors

Non-Specific Symptoms (NSS) are symptoms that are not related to any given disease and include fatigue, weakness, sleep difficulties, headache, muscle aches. They have a high reported incidence in the work place and are related to workplace absenteeism. Work-related ill-health and absenteeism remain a significant concern for UK organisations and employees alike, translating into 32.9 million working days a year lost through illness, with stress, depression and anxiety accounting for the majority of days lost (13.4 million). Identifying aspects of the work environment, characteristics of individual workers, external factors and physiological factors that contribute to reporting non-specific symptoms are therefore important and make them the focus of this research.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2009-05-01