Work has long been acknowledged as an important social determinant of health with research being conducted as to how a range of workplace, personal and job characteristics influence occupational health. This report provides an analysis of work related ill-health within the United Kingdom based upon data from the UK Labour Force Survey. Analysis reveals that employment within physically demanding occupations is the key risk factor associated with an individual suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder. Working long hours and employment within managerial, customer service and teaching occupations are associated with an increased risk of suffering from stress, depression and anxiety. Reported levels of ill-health are higher amongst males, older workers and those in the public sector. Despite these findings, downward trends in rates of work related ill-health cannot be explained by changes in the observable characteristics of people and their jobs as recorded by the LFS. The inability to explain observed trends may relate to the absence of career history data within the LFS or the omission of questions about certain characteristics of people’s jobs that are known to effect health. Such data is included within the longitudinal Understanding Society survey. It is recommended that the feasibility of including additional questions in this survey should be investigated.
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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