Surveillance of Work-related and Occupational Respiratory Disease

SWORD has been collecting data on occupational respiratory diseases for over 30 years. Approximately 350 physicians currently report to SWORD. These diseases include occupational asthma, lung cancer and pneumoconiosis.

The scheme was founded by the late Professor Corbett McDonald of the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1989. Case reports of work-related ill-health collected by SWORD are the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) preferred source of data for several respiratory conditions.

Reported diseases

Between 2010 and 2019, a total of 4,362 cases of work-related respiratory disease were reported to SWORD:

  • Pie chart showing reported diseases.Non-malignant pleural disease – 36%
  • Asthma – 19%
  • Pneumoconiosis – 15%
  • Mesothelioma – 14%
  • Other respiratory disease – 9%
  • Lung cancer – 3%
  • Allergic alveolitis – 2%
  • Bronchitis/emphysema – 2%
  • Inhalation accidents – 1%
  • Infectious disease – 1%

Who can join SWORD?

To become a SWORD reporter, you must be a consultant, associate specialist or speciality doctor in respiratory medicine, based in the UK.

Trainee physicians are also able to report, provided they are endorsed by a qualified and named respiratory physician. 

“It is essential that all those seeing such cases actively contribute to make the point that the link between exposure and disease still exists. Data from such schemes are scrutinised appropriately by legislators and policymakers.”

Dr D Fishwick / Reader in Medicine and Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician, Royal Hallamshire Hospital 

Your reporting options

Once you become a SWORD reporter, you will have a choice between core reporting and sample reporting.

Core reporters report throughout the year, reporting cases for each month. Sample reporters report for just one randomly allocated month per year.

Online reporting of occupational cases is done via a secure web form. You will have your own account for completing this form.

You will receive a reporting email, which includes your username and password, at the beginning of every month (core reporters) or at the beginning of your randomly allocated month (sample reporters).

There is currently also an option to report by card, which is sent by post to reporters every month (core reporters) or once a year (sample reporters). 

Blogs by our reporters

You can read blog posts by current SWORD reporters about their experiences on the THOR blog.

Join SWORD now

To join us as a SWORD reporter, please complete our recruitment form.

Contact us

If you have any questions about SWORD, please contact Laura Byrne.

Current reporters

If you have already joined this scheme, you can access your reporting form by logging into the THOR Reporting Site.