Epidemiology of silicosis reported to the SWORD scheme in the UK

David Fishwick, Christopher Barber, Martin Seed, Martie van Tongeren, Melanie Carder

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Background: Although silicosis is usually a long latency disease, there have been a number of high profile international reports of accelerated silicosis in younger workers due to new sources of exposure (e.g. denim sandblasting or artificial stone worktops.) Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to document the demographic risk factors of workers reported to have silicosis in the UK. Methods: Data was obtained for all cases of silicosis reported to the UK Surveillance of Work-related and Occupational Respiratory Disease (SWORD) scheme since 1996. From 2006, data was available relating to the date of onset of symptoms. Cases were allocated to one of five age groups and one of eight industry categories. Results: For the period between 1996 and 2017, there were 216 cases of silicosis reported to SWORD. The mean (range) age of those reported was 61 (23–89), with the majority (98%) being male. Across all industries, 65% of cases were diagnosed in individuals of working age (< 65 for men, and < 60 for women). Silicosis was reported in young workers across all of the industry groups (shown in Figure 1), with around 1 in 6 of all silicosis cases affecting workers under the age of 46 years. Between 2006 and 2017, 81% of 108 workers with silicosis were reported to be symptomatic. Conclusions: Silicosis remains an important health problem in the UK, affecting young workers across a wide-range of industries traditionally associated with silica exposure
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidemiology of silicosis reported to the SWORD scheme in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this