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Since the early 1980s there has been considerable interest in demonstrating a causal link between occupational stress and heart disease; a condition that may take decades to become manifest. Most studies to date have been based on biological effects, have been too short-term to support the hypothesis, have not ruled out reverse causation or not corrected for known risk factors.
Official guidance has made mention of problems with heart disease as being of concern in the context of stress. However the authors of such guidance have not been backed up by medical committees. If ever a causal link is established at common law it will be difficult to discover a relevant date of knowledge.
Control of exposure to stress at work has been subject to Official guidance since the 1990s. Guidance was, and still is, based on observations of various forms of discomfort or biological effect at work e.g. blood pressure, poor concentration or aches and pains. Unfortunately the research, on the whole does not inform as to causation nor effective intervention yet in 2002 HSE urgently needed to create guidance on prevention. 10 years later, this guidance has still not been shown to be either relevant or effective, and 5 out of 6 parts of it have been shown to be superfluous even for biological effect.
Staff at Re: Liability (Oxford) Ltd developed some of the earliest and most comprehensive guidance on stress and its effects on health and well being. Since then, we have made regular reports of developments showing the limitations of the research, whatever its findings.