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The psychosocial flags framework: overcoming obstacles to work
Published on July 30, 2015 39 min
A selection of talks on Clinical Practice
Behavioral medicine: what it is and what it does
- Dr. Gina Touch Mercer
- University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix, USA
The history and foundations of medical research ethics
- Prof. Dr. Christian Lenk
- Ulm University, Germany
Hi. My name's Kim Burton and I'm a freelance occupational health researcher doing some work with the University of Huddersfield. I've been asked to talk about the psychosocial flags framework with a focus on overcoming obstacles to work. Now, I'm fully aware that this series is about back pain, but I'm not going to talk about back pain specifically. I think probably at some point, I will mention it, but I'm focusing on the world of work, not the world of back pain.
Work is what defines us. It's what we do. It's the second question you ask somebody in the pub. What's your name? What do you do?
There's an interface between work and health. And the traditional occupational health paradigm sees work as something that can produce some sort of trauma which will lead to injury or disease. So the concept is that work is hazardous, it affects the worker, and will do harm. The focus is all on a causal relationship between work and the outcome, which is injury or disease. It's a totally reasonable concept and it applies to lots of things, but it doesn't explain everything that we see.
Safety versus health has conflicting paradigms. We've got a health and safety executive which tries to combine the two things together. The idea is that if we can reduce the risks of work, we're going to prevent the harm. And that's a lovely paradigm. And it works for things like safety, such as falls from height and the such like. And it's a paradigm that also works for occupational disease where you've got a clear cause and effect relationship, for instance, exposure to hazardous substances. However, the paradigm does not work for a lot of other important work-related conditions. And actually, it impedes our understanding of this health and work interface. And that's quite a lot of what I'm going to talk about over the next while.