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A new look for OEM in 2015
  1. Malcolm R Sim, Editor
  1. Correspondence to Professor Malcolm R Sim, School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred Centre, Melbourne 3032, Victoria, Australia; malcolm.sim{at}

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In this first edition of Occupational and Environmental Medicine for 2015 we have introduced a new front cover. We have decided to retire the ‘word cloud’, which has adorned the front cover since May 2012. This word cloud was based on the frequency of words contained in articles published in OEM prior to that date and after more than two and a half years it was becoming increasingly out of date. Our new front cover retains the blue colour scheme and continues the tradition of OEM being known as the ‘blue journal‘ amongst occupational health journals. The central feature of the new cover is a globe which signifies the wide reach of OEM around the world. For this first edition, we have selected a group of pictures which illustrate a range of hazardous working environments, as well as motor vehicle exhausts, an increasingly recognised contributor to a wide range of environmental health problems. We plan to introduce further enhancements to the front cover over the coming year, such as changing the suite of pictures to reflect the content of papers in specific editions.

Of course a front cover is just a front cover and what is more important is journal content. We have decided to start this first edition of OEM in 2015 with an editorial commemorating the third anniversary of the death of Bernardino Ramazzini in November 1714. As most readers are aware, Ramazzini was an Italian physician who is widely referred to as the ‘Father of Occupational Medicine’. His seminal work on occupational diseases, De Morbis Artificum Diatriba, was instrumental in bringing to the attention of his medical colleagues and the wider community the hazardous conditions which workers were exposed to at that time and the resultant diseases. Many of the principles Ramazzini promoted in his book to identify and prevent occupational diseases are still very relevant today. To continue the Italian theme, the Editorial on Ramazzini in this edition of OEM has been written by two current Italian occupational physicians; Sergio Iavicoli and Franco Carnevale. In this Editorial they highlight Ramazzini's understanding of the importance of communication skills in complementing medical and scientific skills. Reading this Editorial allows us to reflect on the enormous and farsighted contribution that Ramazzini made to the prevention of occupational diseases and the promotion of worker health.

This edition also contains a paper on CAREX (CARcinogen EXposure) Canada, which is an adaptation of the European CAREX database to estimate worker exposure to a wide range of carcinogens in Canada. The findings of this paper provide an interesting comparison with European carcinogen exposure estimates and the accompanying Commentary by Martie Van Tongeren highlights the broader implications of these Canadian findings. This edition also contains two musculoskeletal disorder papers; one addressing the claims experience of construction floor layers and the other the results of an ergonomic intervention trial in office workers with neck and upper limb pain. Other occupational health papers reflect the broad diversity of contributions to OEM, including alcohol use and misuse among Scottish military veterans, genetic susceptibility to beryllium, exposure to potentially carcinogenic aromatic amines in hairdressers and the results of a large pooled study of carpal tunnel syndrome, which has provided sufficient power to investigate a wide range of biomechanical risk factors.

We also have two environmental health papers in this edition, which highlights the increasing proportion of papers in this discipline being submitted to OEM. Both are concerned with air pollutants, but investigate very different endpoints in different populations; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and particulate matter in a large cohort in England and acute inflammatory markers in the upper airways of a small group of volunteers in the Netherlands. We aim to have at least one review in each edition of OEM and this edition includes a review investigating the link between shift work and diabetes mellitus, which adds to the growing body of evidence of the wide diversity of health problems associated with shift work. Lastly we have some correspondence related to a recent paper published in OEM on brain tumours and mobile phone use, a continuing debate in the scientific literature.1

We hope that you enjoy the diversity of occupational and environmental health content in our first edition for 2015 under our new front cover.



  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.