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  1. G Swaen1,
  2. F Van Dijk2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Coronel Institute, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. For correspondence:
 G Swaen, Department of Epidemiology Universiteit of Maastricht PO Box 616 Maastricht, 6200 MD, The Netherlands;

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One objective of the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Research Programme on Fatigue at Work was to obtain more knowledge about the occurrence and course of fatigue, risk factors, causal processes, and mechanisms. A second objective was to provide actual contributions to prevention in companies and to the quality of occupational healthcare. The studies presented in this supplement show the progress in research contributing to occupational health.

Prolonged fatigue can have a number of adverse effects, as is shown by studies presented in this supplement.

The hypothesis that work related fatigue can be an essential link in the causal string of events departing from job demands, resulting in work related stress reactions, and finally leading to serious health problems was confirmed by Sluiter et al (p i62).1 Fatigue increases the risk of being injured in an occupational accident (Swaen et al, p i88).2 Fatigued workers had a relative risk of 1.75 for being injured. An important finding from a medical point of view was the association found between need for recovery and the subsequent risk for cardiovascular disease as reported by van Amelsvoort et al (p i83).3 The relative risk was 3.16 in the highest need for recovery tertile measured at baseline. The authors suppose that the need for recovery might be an intermediate factor in a causal relationship between job stressors and cardiovascular disease. Other research, based on the Maastricht Cohort Study, indicates that fatigue increases the risk for common infections as well. …

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