Occupation and work-related ill-health in UK construction workers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • S. Turner
  • R. Mcnamee
  • L. Hussey
  • R. M. Agius


Background: Construction workers are at increased risk of work-related ill-health (WRI) worldwide.Aims :To compare the incidence of medically reported WRI in occupations within the UK construction industry according to job title.Methods: We calculated standardized incidence rate ratios (SRRs) using WRI cases for individual job titles returned to The Health and Occupation Reporting network by clinical specialists and UK population denominators. We counted frequencies of reported causal exposures or tasks reported by clinical specialists, occupational physicians and general practitioners.Results: We found significantly increased incidence of WRI compared with other workers in the same major Standard Occupational Classification, i.e. workers with similar levels of qualifications, training, skills and experience, for skin neoplasia in roofers (SRR 6.3; 95% CI: 3.1-13.1), painters and decorators (2.1; 95% CI: 1.2-3.6) and labourers in building and woodworking trades (labourers, 6.6; 95% CI: 3.2-13.2); contact dermatitis in metal workers (1.4; 95% CI: 1.1-1.7) and labourers (1.6; 95% CI: 1.1-2.3); asthma in welders (3.8; 95% CI: 2.8-5.0); musculoskeletal disorders in welders (1.7; 95% CI: 1.1-2.8), road construction operatives (6.1; 95% CI: 3.8-9.6) and labourers (2.5; 95% CI: 1.7-3.7); long latency respiratory disease (mesothelioma, pneumoconiosis, lung cancer, non-malignant pleural disease) in pipe fitters (4.5; 95% CI: 3.2-6.2), electrical workers (2.7; 95% CI: 2.4-3.2), plumbing and heating engineers (2.3; 95% CI: 1.9-2.7), carpenters and joiners (2.7; 95% CI: 2.3-3.1), scaffolders (12; 95% CI: 8-18) and labourers (3.3; 95% CI: 2.6-4.1).Conclusions :UK construction industry workers have significantly increased risk of WRI. These data in individual construction occupations can be used to inform appropriate targeting of occupational health resources. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages8
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011