Summer 2022 Article

The 26th Ruth Alston Memorial Lecture

We were delighted that Professor Dame Carol Black was able to deliver the iOH Ruth Alston Lecture, which focused on her recent independent review of illicit drugs, commissioned by Government in January 2019 and researched and written in two Parts over two and a half years.  This is a summary of her lecture. 

Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace – An Introduction to Getting it Right

Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace has been commonplace in the UK for over 20 years now. It became “mainstream” within the Rail industry following the Cannon Street rail crash of January 8th, 1991, which killed 2 people and injured (some seriously) 542 others despite happening at only 10 mph. It was found that the driver of the train had failed to brake properly, causing the crash. The driver was also found to have cannabis in his system. Following this, many other industry sectors have realised the benefits of managing the risks of Drugs and Alcohol in the workplace both for safety critical and business critical reasons.

Spirometry – What is normal and abnormal?

The aim of workplace spirometry is to identify workers who may have lung disease and require further evaluation. Determining what constitutes an abnormal, versus a normal, spirometry result is particularly important when spirometry is performed in relation to the workplace. An ‘abnormal’ spirometry result can impact a worker’s job (e.g., determining job placement)’1, as well as prompting further evaluation of the worker’s lung health and possible workplace exposures. Therefore, to determine what is normal and abnormal, the approach of interpretation needs to be decided.

Drug & Alcohol Misuse in the working age population, where are we, where are we going?

Mankind is drawn towards intoxication. Edward Slingerland’s new book Drunk investigates human’s enduring need for mind altering substances, particularly our relationship with alcohol, and comes to the startling conclusion that far from being merely a pleasure or a vice, alcohol might be vital to civilization itself1. The first recorded wine was brewed over 6,000 years ago and there is archaeological evidence of consumption long before that.

Access to Work Mental Health Support Service

Mental health remains the leading cause of sickness absence, with an estimated 70 million work days lost annually due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year


Defining a population group and the role of the Occupational Health professional in the management of public health and control of emerging zoonotic communicable diseases.

Release Stress and Change the Groundhog Day

According to a report by Mind* 85% of adults and 91% of young people surveyed are suffering from acute mental health issues, intensified by the fear and anxiety around the pandemic.

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