LadyCare - help for menopausal problems
BAWP members and Dorset Police personnel have been using a magnetic device to help alleviate menopausal symptoms for a number of years, and we were carrying some information about the original trials. However, in a revamp of the site that link appears to have got lost, so the endorsement is now reinstated. To hear what was said at the time please click here. For more information visit http://www.ladycare-uk.com/what-is-ladycare.php.
BAWP response to Fitness testing
Night work linked to double breast cancer risk
Working night shifts for more than 30 years could dramatically increase women's risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has concluded. Nurses, cleaners, care workers, some shop workers, call centre workers and others who work night shifts for long periods can have double the risk of developing the disease than those who don't, the new study indicates. Canadian researchers examined 1,134 women with breast cancer and 1,179 women without the disease, but of the same age. Women were questioned about their work and shift patterns and researchers also assessed the hospital records for the women who suffered from the disease. The study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that those who had worked nights for 30 or more years were twice as likely to have developed the disease, after taking account of other potential risk factors, although the numbers in this group were comparatively small. The association was not found for those doing night shifts for less than 30 years. 'An association between more than 30 years of night shiftwork in diverse occupations and breast cancer is supported here, consistent with other studies among nurses,' the authors said. 'As shiftwork is necessary for many occupations, understanding of which specific shift patterns increase breast cancer risk, and how night shiftwork influences the pathway to breast cancer is needed for the development of healthy workplace policy.'
Anne Grundy and others. Increased risk of breast cancer associated with long-term shift work in Canada, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online first, 1 July 2013. doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101482 [abstract]. Medical Daily. Huffington Post.
Shiftwork linked to heart disease risk
Shiftworkers are at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study. The authors, whose findings are published online in the British Medical Journal, say their research is the largest analysis of shiftwork and vascular risk to date and 'has implications for public policy and occupational medicine.' For more details click here.
Women's Health and Safety at Work neglected
Health and safety issues affecting women are either ignored, under-researched or unrecognised, problems that must be addressed by unions, Unite has said. According to the union, which has just published online its negotiators' guide to raising the issue: 'Working women's health and safety at work is a major priority for Unite. In workplaces where mainly or only women work, hazards are often unrecognised or under-researched. In workplaces where mainly men work, women are often expected to wear inappropriate safety clothes, and differences between workplace health issues for men and women are insufficiently addressed. Health issues that only affect women need to be central to the agenda alongside those that only affect men. And above all, prevention is better than cure - we want healthy, safe workplaces and working lives for all.' The guide is not about 'women's issues', it is about attitudes to health and safety and how to ensure all the relevant issues - from the menopause to cancer - are dealt with by unions to protect everyone in the workplace. This includes the use of worker-friendly research techniques, including body- and risk-mapping.
Work can be damaging in late pregnancy
Working after eight months of pregnancy could be bad for your baby, according to a recent study. For more information see attached.
Maternity Action is an organisation which supports and advises pregnant women on a range of issues. For more information see their website. - https://www.maternityaction.org.uk
Excessive working time causes depression
A new study has concluded that working long hours - regardless of job stress or satisfaction - increases the risk of depression. Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London followed nearly 2,000 middle-aged British civil servants for almost six years.
The researchers examined the civil servants' working hours, whether or not they were depressed or had risk factors for depression to begin with, and whether they had any major depressive episodes over time. In workers with no psychological illness, the rate of a major depressive episode was 2.43 times higher for those who worked more than 11 hours per day compared with employees who worked 7 to 8 hours a day. This association held true even after researchers accounted for other depression risk factors, including socio-demographic factors, smoking, alcohol use, having chronic physical disease, job strain and work-related social support. 'Although occasionally working overtime may have benefits for the individual and society, it is important to recognise that working excessive hours is also associated with an increased risk of major depression,' said study author Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
TUC working hours expert Paul Sellers, writing in the union body's Touchstone blog, said the research forms part of a large scale study that has been running for more than 20 years, 'making it one of the most reliable sources for studying working time and health.' He added 'earlier research from the same source found a worrying 60 per cent increase in the risk of contracting heart disease amongst those working overtime.' He criticised both the government and the business lobby group CBI for their continued opposition to a strengthening the Working Time Directive.
He said: 'There is obviously a serious risk here and yet the state and business leaders oppose taking action to protect people - simply scandalous!'
TUC Touchstone blog. Marianna Virtanen and others.
Overtime work as a predictor of major depressive episode: A 5-year follow-up of the Whitehall II Study, PLoS ONE, volume 7, number 1, published online 25 January 2012.
CBS News. - Depression and overtime
TUC calls for support for menopausal women
The menopause is an important occupational health issue, the TUC has said, and is calling on employers to provide more support at work. The union body says there are 3.5 million women over the age of 50 currently in work. This week it published new guidance on how employers and union reps can work together to support women through the menopause at work. The TUC believes that employers need to recognise that women of menopausal age may need extra consideration, as changes during the menopause can affect how a woman does her work, and her relationship with her boss and colleagues. Menopausal women can experience hot flushes, headaches, tiredness, sweating, anxiety attacks and an increase in stress levels. High workplace temperatures, poor ventilation, poor or non-existent rest or toilet facilities, or a lack of access to cold drinking water at work can make all of these symptoms worse, says the TUC. Its guide says risk assessments should consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure working environment factors, like inadequate control over temperature and ventilation, will not make their symptoms worse. The assessments should also address welfare issues such as toilet facilities and access to cold water. The TUC guidance is drawn from the experience of union health and safety representatives and new research published by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Despite the increasingly large number of older women in employment, the menopause is rarely seen as a workplace issue.' He added: 'The health of women in later years depends very much on their health when they are working through the menopause, and this report shows employers and unions can work together to do much more to protect them.'
Working Families Maternity Calendar
If you are expecting a baby, or have recently given birth - or maybe involved in advising and supporting someone in that position, you may find the Working Families Maternity Calendar helpful. It provides some guidance through the maze of rights and benefits which are available during and after pregnancy, and can be downloaded free from the charity's website.
BAWP members were involved in a long-running research project being undertaken through Oxford University into the effects of the menopause on their daily lives. The result is a new section of the website www.healthtalkonline.org which was launched on Monday 6 December 2010. The website contains many other sections which may also be of interest to you, so take a look!
Another possible aid for menopausal problems
Femarelle is a product intended to help women going through early stages of menopause or beyond. It has been available around the world for over 10 years, and has the professional endorsement of some eminent gynaecologists, including Dr Nick Panay of Chelsea and Westminster and Queen Charlottes Hospitals. It can be used by women who can't (or don't want to) take HRT, as it has no effect on the breast, the uterus or blood clotting. The company is offering every woman in policing the chance to try Femarelle for themselves, free, for 1 month, to see if it works for them. Simply by visiting their site, www.femarelle.co.uk and entering Coupon Code: PCF24R you can register to receive your free pack, worth £24.95.
Optimism and health.
Here is a short article linking optimism to good health, which you might find illuminating!
Night working and breast cancer.
You may have seen reports that the Danish government is paying compensation to some women who have contracted breast cancer, possibly as a result of sustained night working. The original research which led to this was published in 2007, so for the full picture, please click here.
New HSE website to prevent workplace stress.
The HSE has unveiled a new stress website which focuses on stress managament standards and gives case studies. It can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/stress
BAWP funded research into the effects of ageing on women in policing.
The final report on this ground-breaking research is now available. It was supervised by Professor Amanda Griffiths of Nottingham University. Please click for the full document.
Do shifts increase risk of breast cancer?
There is 'appreciable' evidence of a link between breast cancer and shiftwork, a report published by the HSE has found.
Health and Safety.
Night duty bad for pregnancy.
Working a night shift can lead to longer pregnancies and lower birth weight babies, researchers have found. The study of more than 40,000 Danish women looked at the experience of groups who worked during the day, evenings, nights, and those who worked rotating shifts. For more information, click here.
Night work linked to premature baby deaths.
Working nights while pregnant increases the risk of giving birth prematurely by up to 50 per cent, according to a new study by University of North Carolina. For more details of this report, please click here.