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Teaching and Research in Industrial Health

Nature volume 154, pages 663664 (25 November 1944) | Download Citation



THE announcement by the Nuffield Trust of grants totalling £150,000 for teaching and research in industrial health is a reminder of the importance of this hitherto neglected aspect of the nation's well-being. In the early eighteenth century, Ramazzini, in this famous "Diseases of Tradesmen", emphasized the risks to health associated with certain occupations; yet it was not until the War of 1914–18 that official interest, apart from a few industrial hazards, was aroused in industrial health. In 1915 it was realized in Britain that munition workers suffering from ill-health were a serious liability to the safety of the country, since their absence affected production. The Health of Munition Workers' Committee, formed in 1915, found that few organizations kept health records, and that the need for preserving the health of those who work with hands or brain was but feebly recognized. Since 1918 progress has been made, and the recognition of the need for industrial medical officers, industrial nurses, welfare workers and labour managers has become more widely spread. It is, however, chiefly the firms with the best conditions who do the most to safeguard the health of their employees in all ways. There are numerous organizations still existing where health is nobody's concern. There are two aspects to be considered: (a) the need for systematic research into the actual incidence of sickness absence from various causes; (b) the means of expressing the results of this research in such a way that it can be applied easily. Before the outbreak of the present War, much research had been done by the Industrial Health Research Board, but the results were only partially utilized.

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