Dr Olivia Carlton wins the Peter Isaac Award with Health Improvement Plan

Dr Olivia Carlton, the Head of Occupational Health at Transport for London (TfL) is the winner of the Peter Isaac Award, for her role in developing and leading London Underground’s “Health Improvement Plan”.

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) have just announced that Dr Carlton, FRCP, FFOM, who has worked for TfL (formerly London Transport) for 18 years, is the winner of its prestigious annual award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the reduction of ill health at work.

The five year Health Improvement Plan for London Underground was launched in 2004/5 and is now in its third year.  It aims to reduce lost working days due to back pain, stress, anxiety and depression, and has delivered significant health and work benefits.

Dr Carlton heads up TfL’s occupational health team, which includes medical and nursing advisers, a counseling and trauma service, a drug and alcohol assessment and treatment service and a physiotherapy service. She will receive a Trophy and certificate presented at the BOHS Annual Conference Dinner in April 2007.

Dr Carlton said: “I am delighted to win the award on behalf of TfL and my team who have worked extremely hard to improve the lives of the workforce, by integrating the physical, mental and social aspects of good occupational health management.

“The Health Improvement Plan has already reduced the number of employees on sick leave with back pain, and those off sick due to stress, anxiety and depression has decreased in most working groups.  Staff off sick (for all causes) who attend the stress reduction groups have been reduced by 30% in the year following the intervention.”

Three key strands of the work on back pain has been the development of “Working Back” guides for employees and managers, the introduction of a back exercise class which has a large educational component and a work focus, as well as workplace assessments to identify specific needs.

The number of staff off sick for back pain has already decreased.  Those who are referred for physiotherapy and the exercise class within six weeks of being off sick, return to work on average three weeks sooner than those referred later, and employees report marked reductions in pain and disability.

A consultation period to identify the key issues leading to stress, anxiety and depression has led to the introduction of a number of initiatives, including: “hot spots” work using a facilitator with training in mental health issues to coach managers and encourage teams to find their own solutions and the setting up of stress reduction groups, led by trained counselors, to encourage participants to develop the skills and resilience to take greater control over their lives.

Dr Carlton, who is an Occupational Physician has held the position of Registrar of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine since May, 2002.


Notes to editors

The Peter Isaac Award was initiated to mark BOHS’s golden jubilee in 2003, and is named in honour of a founder and first Secretary of the Society.  Occupational hygiene is about eliminating or controlling health hazards in the workplace (not about washing hands properly).  The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) was formed in 1953 to help to reduce work-related ill-health.   With members from across industry, and within health, education, government and research, it is by far the biggest occupational hygiene society in Europe and is the definitive voice of occupational hygiene in the UK.

The Faculty of Occupational Hygiene within BOHS plays a vital role in developing and maintaining the professional standards of occupational hygienists, and is the internationally recognised examination board for qualifications in occupational health.

For further information about the award and BOHS please contact: Anthea Page, Communications Manager, BOHS, tel 01332 250701, e-mail anthea@bohs.org.

Ann Laker     
TfL Press Office      
0845 604 4141

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