Since the early 1990s, the UK occupational health community has attempted to minimise the use of the term ‘work-related’ in the context of upper limb disorders (ULDs). Whilst acknowledging that symptoms can be caused, or made worse, by work, the tautology of the term has been thought unhelpful, particularly when carrying out epidemiological research. Our system of compensation for work-related injuries or diseases is called the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). Prescription is based upon recommendations from the independent Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. Currently, the only ULDs which are ‘prescribed’ are: task specific focal dystonia of the hand or forearm (writer’s cramp); subcutaneous cellulitis of the hand; bursitis or subcutaneous cellulitis arising at or about the elbow due to severe or prolonged external friction or pressure at or about the elbow; tenosynovitis; vibration white finger; carpal tunnel syndrome and Dupuyten’s contracture legislation is just passing through Parliament. These are however only prescribed in relation to strictly defined occupational exposures and awarded after consideration of the disablement caused. The case definitions and exposure assessment will be presented in detail.
Our group developed the Southampton examination proforma for epidemiological research into ULDs based upon the Harrington criteria in the late 1990s. The published validation of this proforma was used extensively in developing the Sluiter assessment criteria. Some of these data will also be shared.