Every year more than two million people in Britain are injured or made ill by their work and it is estimated one in ten GP visits are for work-related issues.

Such injuries cost the UK economy £5 billion and more than 119 million lost work days every year.

In Sussex, there were 729 work-related injuries last year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and two firms were successfully prosecuted after workers died.

Earlier this year, 16 Sussex companies were named by the HSE for having a poor record on safety at work and firms across the county have had to pay a total of £130,850 in fines during the past year.

In addition to these figures, many more people suffer long-term damage to their health from conditions such as stress or repetitive strain injury (RSI).

A new book entitled Keeping Well At Work outlines many problems experienced by employees and offers practical advice on how to deal with health risks at work.

Author Philip Pearson said: "People make the mistake of believing that modern work places do not bring the same risks as traditional manufacturing or mining industries.

"While the risk of serious injury or death is low, there is a growing risk of 'slow accidents', such as RSI, by working in a supermarket or call centre."

Mr Pearson, 54, who was born in Brighton and attended Varndean Grammar School in the Sixties, spent a year writing the book.

He said: "The issue is important because if employees don't act early enough their mental and physical health will deteriorate.

"For employers, good health is good business."

Brighton GP Dr Xavier Nalletamby, chairman of the Brighton and Hove Primary Care Group, believes pressures on employees have grown in recent years.

He said: "People are under a lot more pressure these days. It's much more difficult to persuade people to take time off work.

"They don't want to put their colleagues under extra strain or risk their job security."

Dr Nalletamby, who works at St Peter's Medical Centre in Oxford Street, said stress was the biggest work-related health risk he dealt with.

He added: "In addition, I have seen a lot of people with RSI, including supermarket cashiers, office workers and typists.

"I have also treated lecturers at universities who have temporarily lost their voices through over-use.

"I have even seen DJs who have suffered hearing loss because of their jobs. One DJ in Brighton has permanent deafness."

Although the official figures state up to two million people fall ill through work in Britain, Mr Pearson believes these figures underestimate the extent of work-related ill-health.

He said: "Too many people at work simply accept the effect of work on their health without doing anything about it."

One section of the book deals with employees taking work-related health issues to their GP.

Mr Pearson interviewed a former supermarket checkout assistant who went to her GP with pain in her shoulder and was given painkillers.

Four years later she developed a disabling condition which meant she could not work.

In recent years there has been a lot more publicity about RSI and some large supermarkets are introducing innovations to cut the possibility of injuries occurring in their workforce.

Another form of RSI dealt with by the book is dysphony, or strain on the larynx, which can affect teachers and call centre workers if they over-use their voices.

Mr Pearson, who is also an industrial-relations researcher said: "I have come across cases of teachers who have lost the ability to speak after repeated strain on their larynx.

"It can also affect the 300,000 call centre workers in this country. It's another issue which often goes unrecognised."

Some firms in Sussex have already introduced innovations to protect employees' health.

American Express in Brighton has a gym on site, while Glaxo SmithKline in Worthing won the HSE's top award in March for its efforts to reduce back injuries and muscoskeletal disorders.

But one area which few employers have addressed is the effect of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

It is estimated up to 90 per cent of women in the UK experience some changes premenstrually and up to ten per cent of these are so incapacitated it dominates their life in this part of their cycle.

Mr Pearson said: "Not all women require medical help.

"Symptoms can often be controlled by changes to diet and lifestyle and stress management. A GP should be able to help with advice on all of these."

In severe cases, Mr Pearson recommended the sufferer raised the problem with a supervisor in an attempt to vary the pace or type of work undertaken for a few days each month.

Keeping Well At Work is available in bookshops priced £8.99.