The Health and Occupation Research (THOR) network
The Health and Occupation Research (THOR) network monitors the incidence of work-related ill-health in the UK and Ireland.
If you are a physician who sees cases of ill-health believed to have been caused or aggravated by work, you could join others participating in THOR, which is partly funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
We aim to measure the incidence and trends in incidence of occupational diseases in the UK, and help identify at-risk sectors of the workforce. THOR data helps inform policy and guidance, for example, through the preparation of suitable and sufficient risk assessments, and managing occupational health risks through information and training workers and employers.
Reporters to THOR are voluntary participants and include consultant chest physicians, consultant dermatologists, occupational health physicians, and general practitioners.
We collect our data monthly, covering a wide range of newly diagnosed cases of work-related ill-health and information on underlying occupational causes from specialist physicians.
Why join THOR?
As a THOR reporter, you will help us to provide policymakers such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with important evidence for policies to prevent work-related ill-health.
This data is also shared with occupational health professionals. By reporting data to THOR, you will help us to raise awareness and improve the identification, diagnosis and management of patients with work-related ill-health.
You will also receive the following benefits as a THOR reporter:
- Formal and public acknowledgment of your contribution. We may, for example, include the names of reporting physicians (with their approval) in the acknowledgements section of any publication that is produced using data from THOR.
- Access to THOR CPD (Continuing Professional Development), a programme of CPD-accredited online education and information for occupational physicians and GPs. This programme is also being extended to dermatologists and chest physicians.
- Quarterly newsletters and annual reports on all reported cases.
- Access to a data request service to answer your work-related ill-health queries.
- Access to monthly online educational seminars.
- Opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and THOR researchers to conduct research using THOR data and publish your findings in scientific medical journals.
How to join our reporting schemes
We have four voluntary reporting schemes that collect data in the UK. You should choose the scheme most relevant to your field.
Each scheme has set criteria for who can report. Read more about each scheme and find out how to join as a reporter at the links below.
- EPIDERM – Occupational Skin Disease Surveillance
- OPRA – Occupational Physicians Reporting Activity
- SWORD – Surveillance of Work-related and Occupational Respiratory Disease
- THOR-GP – The Health and Occupation Research network in General Practice
In addition to the four UK schemes, the incidence of work-related ill-health in the Republic of Ireland is reported to the THOR-ROI network.
If you have any questions about joining THOR, please contact us.
Impact of your data
Occupational diseases and work-related injuries impose a heavy burden on both workers and employers, and represent enormous economic costs.
The data you report to THOR is one of the main sources of information used by policymakers such as HSE to determine its priorities and work programmes on occupational health.
Our outputs are also used to inform workplace regulations, such as chemicals and exposures, and for educational purposes to increase knowledge and raise awareness.
Below are some examples of how the data collected by our reporters has played an important role in shaping policies, priorities and work programmes on occupational health.
Asthma Workplace Charter
The Asthma Workplace Charter was developed by Asthma UK in consultation with HSE. It used THOR data as the basis for its list of the main occupations at risk from developing occupational asthma.
- Asthma at Work – Your Charter (PDF, 490KB)
Isocyanate exposure inspection topic pack
Using THOR annual statistics from 2003-04, HSE identified vehicle spray painters as a high-risk occupation group for work-related asthma.
This resulted in the publication of an inspection topic pack on controlling isocyanate exposure in motor vehicle repair body shops by HSE, which cited the 2003-04 THOR data as the source for the occupational asthma estimates.
The introduction of the HSE intervention resulted in a decline in the incidence of asthma as demonstrated by a study on isocyanate exposure and asthma in the motor vehicle repair (MVR) industry.
The study used a combination of HSE monitoring data and data reported by chest physicians to SWORD.
- Inspection topic pack: Control of isocyanate exposure in MVR bodyshops Disease Reduction Programme (PDF, 959KB)
- HSE Occupational Health Statistics Bulletin 2003-04 (PDF, 588KB)
S J Stocks, K Jones, M Piney, R M Agius, Isocyanate exposure and asthma in the UK vehicle repair industry, Occupational Medicine, Volume 65, Issue 9, December 2015, p713-718
Bad Hand Day campaign
THOR data was used by the HSE to identify that the hairdressing industry is a priority intervention for its Bad Hand Day campaign to raise awareness of and prevent work-related dermatitis.
Data has shown a decrease in the incidence of contact dermatitis. Preliminary analyses, yet to be published, have suggested a decrease in the incidence of contact dermatitis in hairdressers.
- Bad Hand Day campaign (HSE)
- Work-related skin disease statistics in Great Britain, 2020 (PDF, 483KB)
Downward trend in doctors' health
An increase in the annual average incidence rates for work-related ill-health and work-related mental ill-health was found among doctors using data from THOR.
The research finding was picked up by news outlet Pulse, and was tweeted multiple times, increasing awareness of stress among doctors.
- Doctors’ health in long-term decline, finds study (Pulse)
- A Zhou, M Carder, M Gittins, R Agius (2017). Work-related ill health in doctors working in Great Britain: Incidence rates and trends. British Journal of Psychiatry, 211(5), p310-315
- Overview of attention for article published in British Journal of Psychiatry (Altmetric)
Allergy inquiry citation
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into allergy cited THOR as a source for its statistics.
Professor Raymond Agius, former PI of THOR, acted as an expert witness in the inquiry.
Request our data
We offer an ad hoc request service for the data we collect from our reporters.
Reports and publications
Reports on incidence and temporal trends in the incidence of work-related ill-health are produced annually and submitted to the HSE.
Our annual and quarterly reports for the UK and Ireland can be found on the reports and publications page.
We also regularly publish our research in general occupational, respiratory, musculoskeletal, skin, hearing and mental health, as well as in occupational health education.
A full list of our research publications can be found in the University of Manchester’s Research Explorer.
We welcome enquiries from anyone interested in joining THOR or using our data.