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The incidence of medically reported work-related ill health in the UK construction industry
  1. S J Stocks1,
  2. R McNamee2,
  3. M Carder1,
  4. R M Agius1
  1. 1Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Health Sciences Group, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Health Sciences Methodology, Health Sciences Group, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr S J Stocks, COEH, 4th Floor Ellen Wilkinson Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PT, UK; jill.stocks{at}


Objective Self-reported work-related ill health (SWI) data show a high incidence of occupational ill health and a high burden of cancer attributable to occupational factors in the UK construction industry. However, there is little information on the incidence of medically reported work-related ill health (WRI) within this industry. This study aims to examine the incidence of WRI within the UK construction industry.

Method Standardised incidence rate ratios (SRRs) were used to compare incidence rates of reports of medically certified work-related ill health returned to The Health and Occupation Reporting network (THOR) within the UK construction industry with all other UK industries combined.

Results Male UK construction industry workers aged under 65 years had significantly raised SRRs for respiratory (3.8, 95% CI 3.5 to 4.2), skin (1.6, 1.4 to 1.8) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD; 1.9, 1.6 to 2.2). These SRRs were further raised for those working within a construction trade. The increased SRRs for skin disease within male construction industry workers were due to contact dermatitis (1.4, 1.2 to 1.6) and neoplasia (4.2, 3.3 to 5.3). For respiratory disease, the increased SRRs were due to non-malignant pleural disease (7.1, 6.3 to 8.1), mesothelioma (7.1, 6.0 to 8.3), lung cancer (5.4, 3.2 to 8.9) and pneumoconiosis (5.5, 3.7 to 8.0), but the SRRs for asthma (0.09, 0.06 to 0.11) and mental ill health (0.3, 0.1 to 0.4) were significantly reduced.

Conclusion The significantly raised SRRs for medically reported MSD and significantly reduced SRRs for mental ill health in construction workers confirm self-reported UK data. These SRRs provide a baseline of the incidence of WRI in the UK construction industry from which to monitor the effects of changes in policy or exposures.

  • Occupational health
  • occupational exposure
  • incidence
  • construction industry
  • epidemiology

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  • Funding The THOR project is partly funded by the UK Health and Safety Executive.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the North West NHS MREC 02/8/72.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.