§ Mr. Ian McCartney
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the incidence of occupational asthma(a) nationally and (b) by region among (i) men and (ii) women in each of the past five years; and for each category and year what has been the change, by number and percentage, over the previous year. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
The information is not available in the format requested.
The surveillance of work-related and occupational respiratory disease scheme, based on reporting by specialist doctors, provides national estimates of the number of new cases of occupational asthma diagnosed by specialists. The available information from SWORD for 1991 to 1995 inclusive is shown in table 1.
Table 1: Reports of occupational asthma to SWORD, United Kingdom 1991–1995 Year 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 Estimated total cases seen by specialists1 —2 1,047 879 941 851 Percentage male3 71 72 70 66 65 Notes: 1System of estimating total cases using one-month per annum returns from sampled physicians together with full 12-month returns from a core group was introduced in 1992 to decrease under-reporting. 2Precedes system referred to in note 1; annual average no. of cases reported for 1989–91 was 509. 3Based on reported cases where the sex was stated.
Health and Safety Executive.
Information is also available from the DSS and is shown in table 2 for 1990 to 1994, inclusive. Data for 1995 are not yet available for presentation in this format.
Sir Paul Beresford: The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 came into force on 1 April 1996. The new regulations define an accident to includean act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work".
This change will ensure that the health and safety enforcing authorities are provided with valuable data on the extent and nature of violence to people at work.