Upper respiratory tract illnesses and accidents

Smith, A.P, Harvey, I, Richmond, P, Peters, T.J, Thomas, M and Brockman, P (1994) 'Upper respiratory tract illnesses and accidents.' Occupational Medicine, 44 (3). pp. 141-144. ISSN 0962-7480

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/occmed/44.3.141


Anecdotal accounts suggest that colds and influenza may increase human error. This view is supported by laboratory studies of the effects of upper respiratory tract illnesses (URTIs) on performance efficiency, which have shown that both experimentally induced and naturally occurring URTIs reduce aspects of performance efficiency. The present research examined the relationship between accidents and URTIs by studying 923 patients attending an Accident and Emergency department at a time of year when upper respiratory tract viruses were circulating. The results revealed no significant associations between URTIs and workplace accidents, and, similarly, no significant associations emerged when all accidents were compared with other attenders. The only effect which was close to statistical significance was a protective effect of influenza against workplace accidents, which could be explained in terms of a person with influenza or who has recently had influenza being less likely to work and therefore less likely to be at risk of experiencing a workplace accident. Further research must examine this topic with different methodologies, such as selecting controls from fellow workers of the index case, and these studies will provide us with a clearer view as to whether or not there is an association between URTIs and workplace accidents.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RB Pathology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/44.3.141
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2016 16:27
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:43
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/8468
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