A major focus at present is the influence of cultural and psychosocial factors on illness that is commonly attributed to work – in particular, musculoskeletal complaints such as low back pain and “RSI”. These disorders are economically important, both in costs to the health service and in lost productivity. Evidence is accumulating that unlike classical occupational diseases such as pneumoconiosis and noise-induced deafness, they do not occur simply through over-exposure to a hazardous agent or activity. Rather, the risk of symptoms and disability appears to be importantly modified by individual psychology and by societal beliefs and expectations. Understanding the contribution of these non-occupational influences is crucial to the optimisation of control strategies. For example, efforts to prevent back pain through restrictions on lifting might have unintended adverse consequences because they reinforce workers’ expectations of injury.
Other current areas of research include:
- Determinants and characteristics of accidental acute pesticide poisoning in adults
- Influence of working hours and occupational activities on pregnancy outcome
- Impact of flu immunisation on sickness absence in health care workers
- Effect of metal fume on inflammatory response in the lung
- Illness, medication and risk of occupational accidents
- An association of hip osteoarthritis with heavy lifting at work.
- An increased risk of knee osteoarthritis with prolonged kneeling or squatting at work, especially in individuals who are also obese and have a history of earlier knee injury or surgery.
- Only limited short-term benefits from an ergonomic intervention of the sort that many NHS trusts are making to reduce the occurrence of back disorders in nurses.
- The important contribution of occupational hand-transmitted vibration to Raynaud's phenomenon in the general population and the large number of attributable cases nationally.
- A workable algorithm for the diagnosis and classification of upper limb disorders in epidemiological studies, which is now being applied to community-based surveys of prevalence, incidence, risk factors and prognosis.
- No increased risk of hip fracture in people exposed long-term to fluoride in drinking water at concentrations of 1ppm or higher.
- An increased incidence of meniscal cartilage injuries in the knee in jobs that entail prolonged kneeling or squatting.
- A risk of infectious pneumonia from occupational exposure to metal fume.
- A relatively low prevalence of latex sensitivity in hospital staff who frequently use rubber gloves, indicating that they do not require intensive respiratory health surveillance.
- Minimal if any excess risk of cancer in prolonged follow-up of workers heavily exposed to formaldehyde.
- Poorer job retention in patients requiring surgical treatment for hip and knee disorders if they work in small businesses.
Solidaki E;Chatzi L;Bitsios P;Coggon D;Palmer KT;Kogevinas M. Risk factors for new onset and persistence of multi-site musculoskeletal pain in a longitudinal study of workers in Crete. Occup Environ Med 2013; 70:29-34.
Vargas-Prada S;Serra C;Martinez JM;Ntani G;Delclos GL;Palmer KT;Coggon D;Benavides FG. Psychological and culturally-influenced risk factors for the incidence and persistence of low back pain and associated disability in Spanish workers: findings from the CUPID study. Occup Environ Med 2013; 70:57-62.
Carugno M;Pesatori AC;Ferrario MM;Ferrari AL;Silva FJ;Martins AC;Felli VE;Coggon D;Bonzini M. Physical and psychosocial risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders in Brazilian and Italian nurses. Cad Saude Publica 2012; 28:1632-1642.
Coggon D;Ntani G;Palmer KT;Felli VE;Harari R;Barrero LH et al. The CUPID (Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability) Study: Methods of Data Collection and Characteristics of Study Sample. PLoS One 2012; 7:e39820-.
Darnton A;Hodgson J;Benson P;Coggon D. Mortality from asbestosis and mesothelioma in Britain by birth cohort. Occup Med (Lond) 2012; 62:549-552.
Palmer KT;Harris EC;Linaker C;Barker M;Lawrence W;Cooper C;Coggon D. Effectiveness of community- and workplace-based interventions to manage musculoskeletal-related sickness absence and job loss: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2012; 51:230-242.
Palmer KT. The older worker with osteoarthritis of the knee. Br Med Bull 2012; 102:79-88.
Palmer KT. Occupational activities and osteoarthritis of the knee. Br Med Bull 2012; 102:147-170.
Palmer KT;Cosgrove MP. Vaccinating welders against pneumonia. Occup Med (Lond) 2012; 62:325-330.
Palmer KT;Griffin M;Ntani G;Shambrook J;McNee P;Sampson M;Harris EC;Coggon D. Professional driving and prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disc diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging: a case-control study. Scand J Work Environ Health 2012; 38:577-581.
Warnakulasuriya SS;Peiris-John RJ;Coggon D;Ntani G;Sathiakumar N;Wickremasinghe AR. Musculoskeletal pain in four occupational populations in Sri Lanka. Occup Med (Lond) 2012; 62:269-272.
Bonzini M;Palmer K;Coggon D;Carugno M;Cromi A;Ferrario M. Shift work and pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of currently available epidemiological studies. BJOG 2011; 118:1429-1437.
Endean A;Palmer KT;Coggon D. Potential of magnetic resonance imaging findings to refine case definition for mechanical low back pain in epidemiological studies: a systematic review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976 ) 2011; 36:160-169.
McElvenny DM;Hurley MA;Lenters V;Heederik D;Wilkinson S;Coggon D. Lung cancer mortality in a cohort of UK cotton workers: an extended follow-up. Br J Cancer 2011; 105:1054-1060.
McNee P;Shambrook J;Harris EC;Kim M;Sampson M;Palmer KT;Coggon D. Predictors of long-term pain and disability in patients with low back pain investigated by magnetic resonance imaging: a longitudinal study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2011; 12:234-.
Palmer KT. Carpal tunnel syndrome: The role of occupational factors. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2011; 25:15-29.
Shambrook J;McNee P;Harris EC;Kim M;Sampson M;Palmer KT;Coggon D. Clinical presentation of low back pain and association with risk factors according to findings on magnetic resonance imaging. Pain 2011; 152:1659-1665.
Coggon D. Responding to change: the 1990s. Occup Med (Lond) 2010; 60:504-506.
Ferrari AL;Baptista PC;Felli VE;Coggon D. Translation, adaptation and validation of the 'Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID) Questionnaire' for use in Brazil. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem 2010; 18:1092-1098.
Lenters V;Basinas I;Beane-Freeman L;Boffetta P;Checkoway H;Coggon D;Portengen L;Sim M;Wouters IM;Heederik D;Vermeulen R. Endotoxin exposure and lung cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published literature on agriculture and cotton textile workers. Cancer Causes Control 2010; 21:523-555.
London L;Coggon D;Moretto A;Westerholm P;Wilks MF;Colosio C. The ethics of human volunteer studies involving experimental exposure to pesticides: unanswered dilemmas. Environ Health 2010; 9:50-.
Nicholson PJ;Llewellyn D;English JS;including Smedley J. Evidence-based guidelines for the prevention, identification and management of occupational contact dermatitis and urticaria. Contact Dermatitis 2010; 63:177-186.
Smedley J. Concise guidance: diagnosis, management and prevention of occupational contact dermatitis. Clinical Medicine 2010; 10 (5):487-490.
Solidaki E;Chatzi L;Bitsios P;Markatzi I;Plana E;Castro F;Palmer K;Coggon D;Kogevinas M. Work-related and psychological determinants of multisite musculoskeletal pain. Scand J Work Environ Health 2010; 36:54-61.
Bonzini M;Coggon D;Godfrey K;Inskip H;Crozier S;Palmer KT. Occupational physical activities, working hours and outcome of pregnancy: findings from the Southampton Women's Survey. Occup Environ Med 2009; 66:685-690.
Macfarlane GJ;Pallewatte N;Paudyal P;Blyth FM;Coggon D;Crombez G;Linton S;Leino-Arjas P;Silman AJ;Smeets RJ;van der WD. Evaluation of work-related psychosocial factors and regional musculoskeletal pain: results from a EULAR Task Force. Ann Rheum Dis 2009; 68:885-891.
Palmer KT;Cullinan P;Rice S;Brown T;Coggon D. Mortality from infectious pneumonia in metal workers: a comparison with deaths from asthma in occupations exposed to respiratory sensitisers. Thorax 2009; 64:983-986.
Palmer K;Loomis D. OEM's impact factor reaches a new high. Occup Environ Med 2008; 65:578-.
Palmer KT. Diagnosing soft tissue rheumatic disorders of the upper limb in epidemiological studies of vibration-exposed populations. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2008; 81:575-593.
Palmer KT;Harris EC;Griffin MJ;Bennett J;Reading I;Sampson M;Coggon D. Case-control study of low-back pain referred for magnetic resonance imaging, with special focus on whole-body vibration. Scand J Work Environ Health 2008; 34:364-373.
Sellayah D;Sek K;Anthony FW;Watkins AJ;Osmond C;Fleming TP;Hanson MA;Cagampang FR. Appetite regulatory mechanisms and food intake in mice are sensitive to mismatch in diets between pregnancy and postnatal periods. Brain Res 2008; 1237:146-152.
Palmer KT;Reading I;Calnan M;Linaker C;Coggon D. Does knee pain in the community behave like a regional pain syndrome? Prospective cohort study of incidence and persistence. Ann Rheum Dis 2007; 66:1190-1194.
Palmer KT. The Southampton Examination Schedule for the diagnosis of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb. Med Lav 2007; 98:111-117.
Hayward AC;Harling R;Wetten S;Johnson AM;Munro S;Smedley J;Murad S;Watson JM. Effectiveness of an influenza vaccine programme for care home staff to prevent death, morbidity, and health service use among residents: cluster randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal 2006; 333:1241-.
Parrish RR;Thirlwall MF;Pickford C;Horstwood M;Gerdes A;Anderson J;Coggon D. Determination of 238u/235u, 236u/238u and uranium concentration in urine using sf-icp-ms and mc-icp-ms: an interlaboratory comparison. Health Phys 2006; 90:127-138.
Coggon D. Occupational medicine at a turning point. Occup Environ Med 2005; 62:281-283.
Coggon D. Why I became an occupational physician ... Occup Med (Lond) 2005; 55:585-.
Coggon DI;Martyn CN. Time and chance: the stochastic nature of disease causation. Lancet 2005; 365:1434-1437.
Knudsen LE;Gaskell M;Martin EA;Poole J;Scheepers PT;Jensen A;Autrup H;Farmer PB. Genotoxic damage in mine workers exposed to diesel exhaust, and the effects of glutathione transferase genotypes. Mutat Res 2005; 583:120-132.
Palmer K;Loomis D. Developments at OEM. Occup Environ Med 2005; 62:1-.
Palmer K. Work in brief. Occup Environ Med 2005; 62:663-.
Smedley J;Poole J;Waclawski E;Stevens A;Harrison J;Buckle P;Coggon D. Assessing investment in manual handling risk controls: a scoring system for use in observational studies. Occup Environ Med 2005; 62:63-65.
Walker-Bone K;Cooper C. Hard work never hurt anyone: or did it? A review of occupational associations with soft tissue musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper limb. Ann Rheum Dis 2005; 64:1391-1396.
Atkinson WD;Law DV;Bromley KJ;Inskip HM. Mortality of employees of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, 1946-97. Occup Environ Med 2004; 61:577-585.
Palmer K;Loomis D. Progress and change at Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Occup Environ Med 2004; 61:191-192.
Palmer KT;McElearney N;Harrington M. Appraisal standards in occupational medicine. Occupational Medicine 2004; 54:218-226.
Scheepers PT;Anzion R;Micka V;Poole J;Coggon D;Bos RP. Evaluation of the use of 1-nitropyrene, pyrene, and 1-hydroxypyrene as markers of diesel exhaust exposure in underground mining: results from the BIOMODEM STUDY. Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds 2004; 2004:24-405.
Smedley J;Poole J;Waclawski E;Harrison J;Stevens A;Buckle P;Coggon D. Manual handling risk controls in hospitals (MARCH): a cross-sectional survey of UK hospitals. Health Serv Manage Res 2004; 17:121-131.
Sorensen M;Poole J;Autrup H;Muzyka V;Jensen A;Loft S;Knudsen LE. Benzene exposure assessed by metabolite excretion in Estonian oil shale mineworkers: influence of glutathione s-transferase polymorphisms. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004; 13:1729-1735.
Yoshimura N;Nishioka S;Kinoshita H;Hori N;Nishioka T;Ryujin M;Mantani Y;Miyake M;Coggon D;Cooper C. Risk factors for knee osteoarthritis in Japanese women: heavy weight, previous joint injuries, and occupational activities. J Rheumatol 2004; 31:157-162.
Coggon D. Does it help to know the work-relatedness of back pain in individual cases?. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 2003; 29:-.
Palmer KT. Pain in the forearm, wrist and hand. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2003; 17:113-135.
Palmer KT;Griffin MJ;Syddall HE;Pannett B;Cooper C;Coggon D. The relative importance of whole body vibration and occupational lifting as risk factors for low-back pain. Occup Environ Med 2003; 60:715-721.
Reading I;Walker-Bone K;Palmer KT;Cooper C;Coggon D. Anatomic distribution of sensory symptoms in the hand and their relation to neck pain, psychosocial variables, and occupational activities. American Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 157:524-530.
Scheepers PT;Micka V;Muzyka V;Anzion R;Dahmann D;Poole J;Bos RP. Exposure to dust and particle-associated 1-nitropyrene of drivers of diesel-powered equipment in underground mining. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2003; 47:379-388.