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Assessing the impact of national level interventions on workplace respiratory disease in the UK: part 2—regulatory activity by the Health and Safety Executive
  1. S J Stocks1,
  2. R McNamee2,
  3. S Turner1,
  4. M Carder1,
  5. R M Agius1
  1. 1Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Centre for Epidemiology, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Centre for Biostatistics, Centre for Epidemiology, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr S J Stocks, COEH, 4th Floor Ellen Wilkinson Building, Centre for Epidemiology, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PT, UK; jill.stocks{at}manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

Objective To investigate whether interventions implemented by the UK Health and Safety Executive addressing exposure to isocyanate-based spray paints in motor vehicle repair (MVR), flour dust in craft bakeries, rosin-based solder flux fume (RBSFF) in the electronics industry, metalworking fluids and wood dust coincided with a decline in incidence of work-related short latency respiratory disease (SLRD) or asthma in the target groups.

Method Changes in the incidence of SLRD reported to a UK-based surveillance scheme were compared using a longitudinal, negative binomial regression model with β distributed random effects. An interrupted time series design was used and comparisons according to inclusion or exclusion in the target group were made by including a statistical interactions expressed as a ratio of incidence rate ratios (RIRRs) in the model.

Results The incidence of SLRD attributed to flour dust significantly increased relative to all other agents (RIRR: 1.10; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.16) whereas SLRD attributed to RBSFF significantly declined relative to all other agents (0.94; 0.90 to 0.99). No significant changes in the incidence of SLRD attributed to wood dust (1.03; 0.91 to 1.16) or spray paints (1.03; 0.95 to 1.11) relative to all other agents were observed. A higher proportion of reports originated from the industries targeted by the intervention for RBSFF (65/107; 61%) than spray painting (27/93; 27%) or wood dust (16/42; 38%).

Conclusions These data support a beneficial effect of interventions to reduce exposure to RBSFF but an increase in SLRD attributed to flour dust may indicate increased exposure or increased awareness of the problem.

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