Call for additional research evidence review of respiratory diseases and occupational exposures

Background

1. The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) is proposing to commission a comprehensive review and evaluation of the literature, including epidemiology, on work-related malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases, primarily focussing on lung cancer and COPD, to inform, update or potentially expand the industrial injuries scheme.

2. Some of the current prescriptions for respiratory conditions have been re-evaluated more than once since their inception many decades ago. However, these prescriptions do not always reflect occupations and modern working practices of today, where exposure may occur more frequently than in the past.

3. IIAC invites suitably qualified (and with relevant experience) interested participants to explore the feasibility of undertaking a systematic review of the literature on work-related malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases and current prescriptions.

4. It is envisaged that any research undertaken will be used to determine if the current prescribed diseases qualifying for industrial injuries disablement benefit relating to respiratory conditions are fit for purpose and inform recommendations to amend the regulations if necessary.

Main objectives and timescale:

5. A systematic approach to evidence gathering and synthesis is required and interested parties should indicate how their proposed methods will ensure robust evaluation. Structured tables of the evidence should be included. Characterisation of the nature and magnitude of identified occupations or exposures should include description of the study design, size, routes and forms of exposure, exposure metrics used, health endpoints and results. The quality of the information and triangulation of findings across studies should be evaluated and reported on.

6. Phase 1:

  • to use existing published reviews and key studies, to identify the industries, occupations and exposures associated with respiratory diseases and prioritise these, taking into account factors such as magnitude of risk, prevalence of exposure in the UK, severity of disease etc.

7. Phase 2:

  • for priority exposures, occupations and/or industries that have been agreed with the Council, to update recent reviews if available of epidemiological literature or, where necessary, carry out a new review of the epidemiological literature

  • in addition, for those occupational circumstances where there is a clear increased risk of a disease but this is less than doubled, to review and collate available relevant exposure data

8. It is anticipated phase 1 will take around 6 months with a further 12 months to complete phase 2 and deliver the final report.

Deliverables and dissemination

9. A report should be provided at the end of Phase 1.

10. Throughout Phase 2 short reports on evaluations of priority occupations should be produced to aid discussion with IIAC members.

11. A final report should be provided at the end of the project. It is usual for commissioned reviews to be published by IIAC on GOV.UK.

Expression of interest and tender participation

The Commissioned Review will be subject to a competitive tendering process which will be facilitated on behalf of IIAC by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Those who would like to express an interest in participating in the tender selection process should submit their names, email

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