WORK HAS FEWER HEALTH BENEFITS THAN MANSEL AYLWARD AND OTHER “EXPERTS” CLAIM, IT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS HARM


WORK HAS FEWER “HEALTH BENEFITS” THAN PROFESSOR MANSEL AYLWARD AND OTHER “EXPERTS” CLAIM – INSECURE, PRECARIOUS AND LOW PAID WORK CAN CAUSE ONGOING STRESS AND SERIOUS HARM TO PEOPLE’S HEALTH:

 

Some new research is out, which appears to somehow disprove claims made by certain UK based “experts”, especially such as Professor Mansel Aylward and a few others, many of whom are or were based at the so-called ‘Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’ at Cardiff University, Wales in the UK. Aylward and some of his colleagues have for many years been claiming, that work in paid, open employment is “beneficial to health”, yes even “therapeutic”. While there will be an element of truth in physical and mental activity being good for most persons’ health, the very bold, repeated claims appear to be lacking sufficient evidence, at least for many forms of work on the modern day job-market, which are not at all that “healthy” even for the “fit” ones doing them. The increasing efforts by governments in a number of countries, now also here in New Zealand, to have their social security service agencies and departments move also sick, injured and disabled off benefits, and into various forms of available jobs on the competitive job-market, do appear to carry high risks for many affected persons.

Jobs are not easy to come by, for some not even in better times, and an ever increasing number of jobs are nowadays only part-time, with varying hours, also casual and temporary (term based). Also has there been a growth in self-employed, where former employees have been forced to enter service contracts as sole operators, doing forms of work that used to be done by direct employees of larger enterprises and even public service institutions. We have increasingly volatile economic situations, where boom following bust cycles lead to the shedding of many jobs, of which only some get replaced by new jobs in times of recovery. Modern day employment is increasingly insecure, and often of a “precarious” type, because employers tend to seek ever more “flexibility” and hire and fire staff as the “market” seems to require them to do, in order to keep up with fluctuating demands and growing local and overseas competition. It is not easy even for healthy and well qualified to find available secure and lasting employment, which they may need, desire and value, and most jobs bring with them very high performance expectations, which often results in stress, anxiety, physical and mental burnout, and thus cause various health issues.

Many jobs also require workers to work long hours, in order to keep up with increased work-loads, and to meet tight targets, like for timely product and service deliveries, and competition between workers exists at most workplaces, so a significant percentage of workers have little perception of true job security. Fixed term employment is common and growing – even in the public sector, and with unions having lost a lot of membership and influence, it is the norm these days that workers are mostly on individual employment contracts.

Mansel Aylward has at least accepted some time ago, that so-called “presenteeism” is harmful, where people force themselves to go to and be at work, although they are sick and should take leave. But generally Aylward and a few others continue to be relentless proponents for his recommended approach, to get people into whatever “suitable” work there may be, even if it may not be full-time and secure, kind of using it as a “stepping stone”. There is substantial evidence though, that most casual, term and temporary employment does in the majority of cases not lead to permanent, stable employment.

Aylward found great favours with – and support from – such health and disability insurers like UNUM, who did in the UK actually “sponsor” his Centre at Cardiff University for many years, which was then even called the ‘UNUMProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’. Also has the “research” he did, while basically being funded by such a research “investor” with vested interests, been received with open arms by many other interested stake holders, such as governments with a keen interest in reducing welfare numbers and costs associated with social security benefits. Governments, like insurers and employers have a strong interest in keeping as many people in whatever forms of employment, rather than maintain a safety net for those not able to work, which creates costs, they are all keen to keep at a minimum.

Aylward prepared reports that were quoting “illness belief” as being a supposedly more likely cause for many “common mental health conditions” or “musculoskeletal conditions”. There were repeated references made in some of his and Gordon Waddell’s research to alleged “malingering” by patients. And generally, they and a selected few like-minded colleagues have been claiming, that most of such conditions were not so much disabling, and that it was rather due to other “psycho social” aspects or causes, that many sick, injured and impaired faced barriers to work. A closer look at their “research” shows that much of it appears to be nothing but a well constructed and coordinated attempt of “blurring” the lines, between what has traditionally been accepted, and what Aylward and others seem to be presenting as their alternative interpretation of many physical and mental health conditions. Hence we now get the new “focus” in the UK and also here now, that social security agencies and health professionals they work with, should rather look at what people “can do” than what they “cannot do”. This of course opens up a Pandora’s box, by allowing much rather subjective interpretation of conditions of sickness and disability, and how these should be assessed. Any physical or mental activity that can be detected as usable in any hypothetical form of a job is now being used as a reason to declare a person “fit” to do “some work”, no matter whether there is a real prospect of any job that a person can find and perform on that basis, let alone earn a living from it.

Now though, some new research has found, what many of us have expected all along, that work, and with that employment conditions and situations, can do more harm, than previously thought. This goes beyond of health and safety risks many jobs may bring with them anyway. Especially the fear of loss of employment, the insecure employment, and resulting, continued stress caused by this, can cause not only psychological, but also serious physical sickness. There seems to be sufficient evidence that it even causes asthma. And when stress can cause asthma, one must presume that it may just as well also cause many other types of sickness and illness.

I wish to present the following for readers to study and reflect upon, and it should finally send some warning messages to departments, agencies and corporations here in New Zealand, such as the Ministry of Social Development, with their department Work and Income, as well as the ACC. The now adopted agenda and efforts to move more persons with various health conditions into jobs must be reconsidered, and efforts must be made to ensure that only people that are truly physically and mentally able to, and who are then themselves prepared to try it, should be supported and referred into available employment that has the prospect of being stable, secure, safe, healthy and lasting. It cannot be acceptable to put any pressure by way of unreasonable expectations on sick, injured and disabled, especially those with mental health conditions, who are already more vulnerable, to try out employment options, that may only be short term, marginal, lowly qualified, low paid and thus insecure. It is certainly also NOT acceptable to put expectations on medical practitioners and other health professionals, to re-interpret established health conditions and methods of diagnosis, to simply suit the interests of departments or corporations like Work and Income and ACC, same as insurers and employers.

The newest research only provides more evidence to what other, earlier research has already shown over many years, and I will also provide some further information on that further below, same as a report on insecure employment, published late last year by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU).

 

Here is the new research that was made available earlier this year, and which Radio NZ National also reported on Friday, 03 October 2014: 

 

“Stress at work increases risk of developing asthma, according to major new research”, The Independent, 23 Sept. 2014

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/stress-at-work-increases-risk-of-developing-asthma-according-to-major-new-research-9749239.html

 

People fearful of losing their jobs are 60 per cent more likely to develop asthma for the first time as a result of their stress, according to a major new study.” 

“An international team of researchers analysed data from more than 7,000 workers and, even allowing for other risk factors such as smoking and being overweight, discovered that work-related stress raises the risk of developing asthma.” 

“This study has shown for the first time that perceived job insecurity during the recent economic crisis may increase the risk of new-onset asthma in adulthood,” states the paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.” 

“The research was conducted by experts at the University of Düsseldorf, the University of Amsterdam, and Massey University in New Zealand.” 

“It supports previous studies pointing to a link between the development of asthma and stress, according to researchers. The use of temporary contracts and other “flexible forms of contracting” as well as downsizing, are cited as factors which “increase job insecurity among employees”.” 

“Those with “high job insecurity” had a “roughly 60 per cent excess risk of asthma” compared with those who thought the chances of losing their job were low or non-existent.” 

“And the researchers warn of a “significant trend of increasing asthma incidence with increasing perceptions of job insecurity”. For every 25 per cent increase in the perceived threat of job loss, the risk of asthma rose by 24 per cent.” 

“The findings also “provide a possible explanation for the increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms during the recent economic crisis in the UK.”” 

“TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Falling real wages mean that families are struggling to make ends meet when they have jobs so it’s no wonder that many are so fearful of unemployment and their health is suffering as a result.” 

“This study reminds us not to underestimate the risks to health and wellbeing of the government’s economic policies,” she warned.”

 

 

Further links to other reports and details on the same research:

 

“Job insecurity is associated with adult asthma in Germany during Europe’s recent economic crisis: a prospective cohort study”, BMJ, short story, published 22 Sept. 2014:

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2014/08/08/jech-2014-204274

 

Radio New Zealand National, audio recording of Kathryn Ryan’s interview with Dr Jeroen Douwes from Massey University, Nine to Noon, 03 Oct. 2014:

 

“Work stress can cause first-time adult asthma” –

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/20152025/work-stress-can-cause-first-time-adult-asthma

“Dr Jeroen Douwes is a Massey University professor of public health, and Director of Massey’s Centre for Public Health Research. In new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which surveyed 7,000 workers, Dr Douwes and his colleagues found that people scared of losing their jobs are 60 percent more likely to develop asthma for the first time as a result of their stress.”

 

 

Also of interest in relation to this subject matter:

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, N.I.O.S.H. publication “Stress….At Work”, 1999:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/pdfs/99-101.pdf

 

“Workplace Stress and Your Health”,

“Experts explain the dangers of work-related stress and provide solutions.” By ‘WebMD’:

http://www.webmd.com/men/features/work-stress

 

“Work related stress”, ‘Better Health Channel, Victoria, Australia, link to information:

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Work-related_stress

 

“Managing stress and mental illness in the workplace”, 12 Dec. 2013,

by Kathryn Page, Research Fellow at the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne:

http://mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/news/managing-stress-and-mental-illness-workplace

 

“Is your workplace making you unwell?”

“With work-related illnesses on the rise, employers need to offer employees practical, financial help on the road to recovery. Peter Crush reports”, The Guardian, 18 June 2011

http://www.theguardian.com/worklifeuk/workplace-stress-unwell-related-illness

 

Later down in this Guardian article it sadly shows again, how health and disability insurer UNUM exploit the problems workers face, pushing their “product” of “income protection insurance”! And where there is mention of UNUM, a further mention of the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) and Dame Carol Black are not far away, trying to defend the agenda, that work is really “good” for health (in a “balanced” way).

WARNING: It seems this story in the Guardian was “sponsored” by UNUM!!!

 

And here is some not very helpful information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, looking at this from a purely legal perspective, and giving some legal “opinion”, which will be of little help to workers that have no financial resources to afford a lawyer, that have no union representation and who are left to fend for their own. As we know, it is not easy to access legal aid these days, especially not for “civil” claims, so this will not solve anything for most:

“Workplace Stress”, December 2009:

http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/services/law/case/themes/2009-12-workplace-stress.asp

 

And here is a report by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, describing and explaining how insecure or “precarious” many employment relationships are these days:

‘Under Pressure: A Detailed Report into Insecure Work in New Zealand, October 2013:

http://union.org.nz/sites/union.org.nz/files/Under-Pressure-Detailed-Report-Final.pdf

 

Extract from page 10 of that publication:

“What does it add up to? We can say with some confidence that as of December 2012, at least 635,000 workers – mainly wage and salary earners (employees) – were in insecure work. They were in various forms of temporary employment (192,200) – casual work, fixed-term, temp employment agency, or seasonal work – in permanent work where there was a medium to high chance of job loss in the next year (282,400, some of whom would have been on a 90-day trial), or were actually unemployed (160,500 according to the Household Labour Force Survey). These make up 28.6% of the workforce of 2,221,900 employees and self-employed. It takes no account of the most at risk self-employed such as dependant contractors because no data is available, so it is fair to estimate that at least 30% of our workforce are insecure workers who are most at risk.”

 

Extract from page 11:

“There were 497,300 part-time workers in 2012. Many of these may be permanent employees. However, some part-time workers, even though they are permanent, have employment conditions that allow considerable flexibility in hours worked each week, and varying degrees of employee say in any variation.“ 

“Then there are people experiencing the insecurity of unsafe or unhealthy workplaces whose unacceptable extent has been documented in recent official inquiries. The Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety estimated that “each year, around 1 in 10 workers is harmed, with about 200,000 claims being made by people to ACC for costs associated with work-related injuries and illnesses” (Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety, 2013, p. 12). Again, good data are notoriously rare but 608,400 people in our labour force sometimes, often or always had physical problems or pain because of work in 2012, 226,900 had experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying, and 572,300 worked in one of the five high priority sectors for addressing workplace health and safety problems (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Construction and Manufacturing) or worked in Mining. Workers in these conditions constitute between 25% and more than 50% of the labour force but again we do not know how much they overlap with our initial count.”

“Low pay also contributes to job insecurity. Two out of five children living in poverty in 2012 were in households where at least one adult was in full-time employment or self-employed (Perry, 2013, p.138). The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates that 84,800 workers are on the minimum wage and that there are 573,100 workers on less than the Living Wage of $18.40 an hour. Again we do not know how many they add to the count.” 

“Inability to access in practice ‘standard’ non-wage employment benefits such as sick leave, domestic leave, bereavement leave, or parental leave is another aspect of job insecurity. Again, there is little data on this because it frequently reflects practical conditions of employment rather than the letter of the law.“

 

Extract from page 12 (top):

“THE TRANSIENT NEW ZEALAND WORKFORCE

New Zealand has a highly transient workforce. In any one year, the number of wage and salary workers leaving a job is almost two-thirds of the number of existing jobs. In good times more than that number find a new job; in bad times some do not. However this does not mean that two-thirds of workers are changing their jobs every year because some change jobs more than once in a year – but it does mean that there are many workers whose working life is in constant flux.” 

“In the year to June 2012, for example, Statistics New Zealand’s linked employer-employee data (LEED) series recorded 1.089 million ‘worker separations’ looking only at jobs that had changed between the four quarters of that year. Many shorter lives jobs may not have been counted (on the other hand, the count included moves between geographical locations within one employer – not true ‘separations’). There were an average of 1.812 million filled jobs over that year and 1.115 million ‘worker accessions’ – employees starting a job. 

In such a job market, it should not be surprising that many jobs are insecure, short-lived and temporary. 

One way this shows itself is in the average length of time jobs are held by New Zealand workers. Job tenure in New Zealand is among the shortest in the OECD.”

 

Extract from page 19:

“SELF-EMPLOYMENT

Self-employment (referring here to pure self-employment, with no employees) can provide high incomes, as in the professions or farming, but can also be highly insecure with little assurance of future work or income. It is particularly subject to exploitation in circumstances where all or most of the work is through contracting to a single large company which can dictate terms. There have been numerous cases, including in the telecommunications, film, courier and road freight industries, where some employers have deliberately shed their responsibilities as employers while retaining the services of their workers by requiring them to either enter into dependant contracting arrangements or lose their jobs. There are variations in the dependency of contracting by self-employed tradespeople, particularly in the construction industry, but others such as taxi drivers and franchise holders can find themselves in similarly vulnerable positions.”

 

Extract from page 22:

“WORK/LABOUR HIRE

There are few reliable official statistics on the number of agency workers, or even the number of agencies. In 2004 (based on figures from the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association) Burgess, Connell and Rasmussen estimated that the industry might constitute over 1% of the  workforce, while acknowledging that agency work “undoubtedly involves more people than publicised” (Burgess, Connell & Rasmussen, 2005, p. 357).”

 

Extract from page 26:

“DISABILITY AND INSECURE WORK

People with disabilities have many additional barriers in the workplace. However their biggest issue is accessing and maintaining decent employment. Disabled people are estimated to have twice the unemployment rate of their non-disabled peers (Human Rights Commission, 2011). The Commission held that “this figure may be an under-estimate” (p. 5). 

The advocacy group CCS Disability Action reports that, while there is clear evidence that disabled people are being discriminated against, the lack of any official data collection on the employment of people with disabilities makes it difficult to get traction on tackling their employment issues (CCS, Disability Action, 2013). 

The current Government’s benefit reforms have re-categorised many people who were on the Invalid’s Benefit as ‘Jobseekers’ who are required to undertake a certain number of paid hours of employment per week. Disability advocates are increasingly reporting that disabled people are being pressured into insecure employment by Work and Income staff and employers with little understanding of disability needs, in order to fulfil the work requirements.” 

One such example concerned a young person without independent means of transport being required to present himself each morning at 6.30am at a labour hire company depot several kilometres from his home. He was required to be available for a job which might or might not last for a day, a week or a month. This kind of pressure and insecurity can be especially stressful for people already dealing with the effects of a disability. In other cases, employers without any understanding of disability are subsidised by Work and Income to take on disabled workers.”

 

Read from page 42 onwards, about the ‘COSTS OF INSECURE WORK’:

 

Extract from page 42:

“While some workers opt for jobs that are temporary or part-time because it suits their particular needs, such as meeting family commitments, more and more workers are being forced into casual, temporary, fixed-term jobs or involuntary part-time work because suitable permanent employment is not available. A report prepared in 2011 (ILO, OECD, 2013) found a significant and growing share of the workforce is employed on temporary contracts across developed countries. In OECD countries from 1985 to 2007 permanent waged employment grew by 21 percent but temporary jobs grew almost three times as fast, increasing by 55 percent (ILO 2013).

In many forms of insecure work, there are often very few exits into satisfying work; much insecure work simply leads to other jobs that also fail to provide decent incomes, training or career opportunities and do little to enable a decent quality of life (McLaren, Firkin, Spoonley, de Bruin, Dupuis & Inkson, 2004).” 

“Low-waged jobs are frequently not the pathway to better outcomes, as is often claimed.”

 

Extract from page 44: 

“DAMAGE TO HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

There is growing evidence of the negative impacts on health and well-being from the many forms of insecure work. This is unsurprising, given the effect that people’s employment and working conditions have on their health. Overwork and a poor work-life balance, which are associated with insecure work, both negatively affect health and well-being. The Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (2008) reported that precarious employment was a major factor contributing to health inequalities, including mental illness and heart disease.  Perceived work insecurity is a significant predictor of health problems, and people who report persistent job insecurity have significantly worse health and mental health symptoms, including depression, than those who have never perceived their jobs to be at risk (Ferrie, Shipley, Stansfield & Marmot, 2002). The Marmot review of health inequalities in England

referred to above, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives”, also commented on the association between insecure and poor-quality employment and poor physical and mental health. It noted a graded relationship between a person’s status at work and how much control and support they have in their job, which in turn influences their likelihood of ill-health; the further down the workplace hierarchy one is, the greater one’s risk of ill-health.”

“Conditions of employment which provide for annual leave, sick leave entitlements and childcare arrangements are very important for health and well-being. But workers in insecure employment are more likely to be excluded from such provisions.” 

“There are also psychological consequences from insecure work; the experiences of those workers have been described by researchers as similar to those of people who are unemployed (Rodgers & Rodgers, 1989). Workers place a high value on job tenure because it provides security of income to meet basic needs. There is growing evidence about the negative psychological and other health outcomes from insecure income (Benach, Benavides, Platt, 2000).”

 

Extract from page 47: 

“Growing inequality in New Zealand is therefore a major social and economic concern. Having been one of the developed world’s most equal countries, New Zealand has in the last 30 years experienced one of the fastest increases in inequality among developed countries. The last decade saw income gaps stabilise or decline slightly, but they are now set to widen again. As the Index of Health and Social Problems demonstrates, New Zealand’s high income inequality leads to significant problems: more than twice the prevalence of mental health problems than more equal countries such as Japan and Spain; obesity rates that are rising and are more than double those of more equal countries such as Sweden or Norway; a teenage birth rate that is five times higher than those of countries with lower inequality; an imprisonment rate that has doubled since the mid-1980s and is three times higher than in Japan and Finland; life expectancy rates that compare poorly with more equal countries; and higher rates of infant mortality than more equal countries. Although insecure work is far from the only contributor to this poor record, it is certainly one of them.”

 

Concluding note on that report:

The report is comprehensive, contains a lot of revealing, telling data, has many graphs showing what has been happening in New Zealand employment, informs about how this country is failing its international obligations, and how all this is impacting on the health of workers, and I highly recommend reading the whole publication! What is clear, and can be summarised is, that close to a third of all working population in New Zealand are in forms of insecure or precarious employment, many working in part-time and term employment, which generally pays less than permanent, full-time work. New Zealand has one of the most flexible and mobile workforces, providing for little security for large sections of society, to plan for their lives and to earn sufficient to ensure quality living standards.

 

STATISTICS NZ DATA:

Statistics NZ do not appear to provide much in the way of clear, detailed figures on full time and part time jobs that there are, as they rather focus on employment data trends. The ‘Household Labour Force Survey’ categorises people as “employed”, when they work as little as one hour or more a week – for pay or profit. That allows for a rather generous interpretation for who may be in forms of “part time” work. Full time work is any work that involves 30 or more hours a week. Periods of sickness, holidays or other reasons of temporary absence from work are not given special consideration in their quarterly surveys.

There also appears to be no data on the duration of employment that individuals may be in, and whether they do work in one, two or more jobs:

http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/quarterly-employment-survey-info-releases.aspx

 

A survey on ‘Family, Income and Employment’ (SoFIE) may provide some more interesting data, but the last that is available via their website goes back to 2008:

http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/Income/sofie.aspx

Perhaps the government is not so keen on releasing more current data?

 

 

Own Closing Comments on all of the above: 

The endless efforts made by “experts” such as Mansel Aylward, and claims made by persons like Work and Income’s Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, that the best treatment for many sick, injured and disabled is to stay in work, to return to work, and to hold down jobs on the present modern-day employment market, will turn out to be ill-advised and largely futile.

It is highly worrying to even have the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM), as part of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, strongly promote these approaches, and to also try and further justify their recommendations by presenting additional position statements on what “good work” is supposed to look like.

When some employers may be able to offer good working environment, and good, healthy working conditions to existing and potentially new staff, there are many that still do not do so, for a range of reasons. There is the complex, highly competitive world of business, where cost is a major consideration for many entrepreneurs and operators at all times, and it is often also the cost of labour, which forces them to make compromises on the quality of work, especially in small to medium size enterprises.

Then we have the socio-economic environment, where governments have increasingly given more consideration to the perceived “needs” of business operators, big and small, to create ever more “flexibility” for working conditions and other legal frameworks, which though mean for many workers a loss of security, loss of stable employment, an increased marginalisation due to more precarious employment relationships, and often also lower earnings.

We have legislation before Parliament, where more “flexibility” and thus insecurity for workers is being planned, by allowing employers to interfere with their employee’s lunch and tea breaks, and where some other measures are planned.

All the “experts” and some of the medical professional organisations that agree with and support Aylward et al with their approaches, appear to willingly ignore the larger picture, where work is these days no longer a secure, longer term, reliable income earning activity, so that many workers live under constant worry, fear and stress, as they are unsure where their income may come from in the very near future, no matter how supposedly “good” the economy may be functioning. With such insecurity not being addressed, and with also ignoring also the unacceptably high risk it poses, to “usher” or pressure already sick, injured and disabled into jobs on such a job market, the whole agenda must be seen as more than questionable to follow. Especially those with existing mental health issues must not be put into marginal, insecure employment, where expectations and pressures to perform may actually have much more adverse effects than any “benefit” employment may bring to them.

It must finally be accepted, that it is a more constructive approach, to offer the social security support for those that are unable to hold down jobs for health and disability reasons, and NOT make it ever more difficult to access benefit support for them, by asking for endless medical and work capability reviews from whatever agreed or not fully agreed to “assessors”. Fair and reasonable consideration must be given to the whole, true health situation of persons, before even considering them for employment, and a more respectful way of consulting with sick and disabled is needed, to give them input and a voice re what kind of work they may be able to do or not.

 

 

Author:

Quest For Justice

 

05 October 2014

 

 

Post Script:

 

The unrepentent AFOEM position (click links for details):

http://www.racp.org.nz/page/afoem-health-benefits-of-work

http://www.racp.org.nz/page/racp-faculties/australasian-faculty-of-occupational-and-environmental-medicine/realising-the-health-benefits-of-work/may-2010-video-presentation-professor-sir-mansel-aylward/

http://www.racp.org.nz/index.cfm?objectid=E1D5428F-B1BF-2C2F-7A247F80DC4F363C

http://www.racp.org.nz/page/racp-faculties/australasian-faculty-of-occupational-and-environmental-medicine/realising-the-health-benefits-of-work/latest-news/

http://www.racp.org.nz/download.cfm?downloadfile=E2F6A860-D1D5-E958-6D9D641F04477400&typename=dmFile&fieldname=filename

(Last link leads to PDF file with most recent “position statement update” describing in some more or less vague terms, what “good work” should look like).

 

 

 

ADDENDUM – 09 OCTOBER 2014: MORE RESEARCH EVIDENCE THAT PAID EMPLOYMENT IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER FOR HEALTH:

 

 

“Physically active work not as beneficial as leisure-time exercise: study”
October 30, 2013

 

http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/9455-physically-active-work-not-as-beneficial-as-leisure-time-exercise-study

 

“Shandong, China – Recreational workouts may help reduce the risk of hypertension, but job-related physical activity does not appear to have the same effect, according to a new study from Shandong University.

Researchers reviewed 13 studies from different countries involving a total of 136,846 people – 15,607 of whom later developed hypertension, the study abstract states. Exercising more than four hours a week was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of high blood pressure compared to exercising less than an hour a week. Yet people in physically demanding jobs saw no such benefit; they had the same high blood pressure risk as sedentary workers.
The study was published online Sept. 30 in the journal Hypertension.”

 

“Physical Activity and Risk of Hypertension”, A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies

http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/09/30/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01965.abstract?sid=1be2bce0-6861-48a4-860d-ec40d7988be6

 

Extract – with ‚Abstract’ from the website:

 

“From the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics (P.H., H.X., W.M.) and Department of Maternal and Child Health (B.X.), School of Public Health, Shandong University, Jinan, China; Independent Consultant, New York, NY (K.H.R.); and National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China (Y.W.).
Correspondence to Wei Ma, Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Shandong University, 44 Wenhuaxi Rd, Jinan 250012, China. E-mail weima@sdu.edu.cn; or Bo Xi, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Shandong University, 44 Wenhuaxi Rd, Jinan 250012, China. E-mail xibo2010@sdu.edu.cn“

 

“Abstract”

“Published literature reports controversial results about the association of physical activity (PA) with risk of hypertension. A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies was performed to investigate the effect of PA on hypertension risk. PubMed and Embase databases were searched to identify all related prospective cohort studies. The Q test and I2 statistic were used to examine between-study heterogeneity. Fixed or random effects models were selected based on study heterogeneity. A funnel plot and modified Egger linear regression test were used to estimate publication bias. Thirteen prospective cohort studies were identified, including 136 846 persons who were initially free of hypertension, and 15 607 persons developed hypertension during follow-up. The pooled relative risk (RR) of main results from these studies suggests that both high and moderate levels of recreational PA were associated with decreased risk of hypertension (high versus low: RR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.76–0.85 and moderate versus low: RR, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.85–0.94). The association of high or moderate occupational PA with decreased hypertension risk was not significant (high versus low: RR, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.81–1.08 and moderate versus low: RR, 0.96; 95% confidence interval, 0.87–1.06). No publication bias was observed. The results of this meta-analysis suggested that there was an inverse dose–response association between levels of recreational PA and risk of hypertension, whereas there was no significant association between occupational PA and hypertension. “

“Received July 2, 2013.
Revision received July 19, 2013.
Accepted August 20, 2013.”

 

Use the above link to access the full article with additional info links on the website of the “American Heart Association, Inc.”

 

ADDENDUM – 05 MAY 2015:
A NEW STUDY PUBLISHED BY DPAC AND PIRU SHOWS HOW DISABLED FACE HUGE CHALLENGES, DISADVANTAGES AND ALSO RESULTING POOR HEALTH, GIVEN DRACONIAN, UNREASONABLE AND COUNTER PRODUCTIVE WELFARE REFORMS IN THE UK:

 

DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS (DPAC) have published a new research report, showing that disabled face major challenges and resulting, serious risk of harm and worsening health issues due to increased pressures, unreasonable expectations and less real, effective supports. The DPAC PIRU publication, apparently still in the process of getting its finishing touches, exposes how the UK coalitions government’s boastful claims about getting more sick, injured and disabled into work are just mean, nasty propaganda. Adverse health effects will lead to more harm and higher healthcare costs down the line, it seems.

 

‘New study finds workplace hell for disabled workers’

” – unlawful discrimination, problems with zero hours contracts, fewer legal rights, and disintegrating long-term job prospects – “

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/04/new-study-finds-workplace-hell-for-disabled-workers/

 

Extract:

“The study collected information from 137 disabled workers and from 141 organisations; and was produced for Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). The study covers the private, public and voluntary sectors. Principal findings include:

* Employer attitudes towards disabled workers have deteriorated in the last four years.

* Zero hours contracts are causing particular problems for disabled workers, including as result of the high levels of ill-treatment associated with these contracts.

* Unlawful discrimination, including harassment and unlawful dismissal, appears to have been increasing.

* There has been a reduction in organisational support for disabled workers and an increased emphasis on discipline.

* The study identified 24 major cuts to equality and employment law protections since 2010. These cuts were starting to have adverse impacts on disabled workers.

* With the introduction of tribunal fees, disabled workers were finding it hard or impossible to enforce the rights which remain.

Responding to the report, Debbie Jolly of DPAC said: “While more research is needed, the initial findings here show a woeful regression of support for those disabled people able to seek work. The recent cap on Access to Work adds to this, exposing the coalition government rhetoric to the stark realities and discriminations disabled people face.”

Rupert Harwood, the report’s author, said: “The study suggests that disabled individuals have been the hardest hit in work as well as out of work”.”

 

Read the whole post on their website – found via the link above!

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