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World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Creating safe working environments and preventing work-related illnesses, accidents and deaths.


Stressed woman thinking about problems

About World Day For Safety And Health At Work


28th April is World Day for Safety and Health at Work – a global campaign, run by The International Labour Organisation, aiming to promote the creation of safe working environments and the prevention of work-related illnesses, accidents and deaths.


This year, the theme is exploring the impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health. Changing weather patterns have notable impact on the world of work, putting workers at an increased risk of exposure to hazards such as excessive heat, air pollution, UV radiation, extreme weather events, major industrial accidents, vector-borne diseases, as well as exposure to agrochemicals.



Importance of Health and Safety At Work



Key figures for Great Britain from Health and Safety Executive

These HSE statistics greatly highlight the need to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace. In addition, the figures also show why annual campaigns such as World Day for Safety and Health at Work are required to effectively raise awareness around this topic.


Creating a safe working environment and taking the right precautions to reduce the risks of workplace dangers can not only protect employees from harm, but it can also protect the future success and the growth of business. Under The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 employers are responsible for health and safety in their workplace. It is their duty to create a safe working environment and take the right precautions to reduce the risks of workplace dangers. Managing health and safety at work is paramount, as it can help employers to:


  • Prevent work-related illnesses, injuries, accidents, and deaths at work

  • Reduce absenteeism and presenteeism

  • Increase productivity among the employees

  • Retain skilled staff

  • Save possible compensation and legal costs

  • Create organisation’s good reputation


Below are various resources on health and safety at work that will help you understand how to identify, assess and manage the risks in your workplace and protect your employees. They will also help you to be better prepared for potential HSE inspections at your business.




HSENI, which is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland, has also guidance on how to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees:



Health & Safety doing inspection in the workplace

The Role of Occupational Health in the workplace


Occupational Health is a specialist branch of medicine which focuses on the interrelationship between work and employee health. It establishes how a person’s work affects their both physical and mental health and how their health affects their work. The effects of health on work consider any health condition that an employee has or may develop which might affect their ability to do certain jobs either because of increased risk from exposure, or if they pose a risk to others from performing safety critical work. In contrast, the effects of work on health arise from employee exposure to chemical, biological, mechanical, physical and psychological hazards at work. These can lead to work-related ill health which can be:

  • Caused wholly by work (occupational disease)

  • Caused partly by work

  • Aggravated by work (work-aggravated disease)


Ill health may mean that a person’s ability to work becomes impaired and workplace adjustments are required.


“Occupational health (OH) maintains the wellbeing of employees, preventing and removing ill-health and developing solutions to keep staff with health issues at work.”

-The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM)


Occupational Health providers offer advice and guidance to employers to help them:

  • effectively support employees who have a health condition or disability

  • reduce risks to the health and safety of their workforce

  • promote better physical and mental health and wellbeing among their staff



The services offered by an occupational health provider will depend on the type of organisation supported and any particular hazards and risk at work. These can include:


Health Surveillance


Health Surveillance is often a mandatory requirement based on the occupational risks present in your workplace. As an employer, you must make sure workers’ health is not impacted by their work. Health surveillance is a systematic review of employee’s health that can help identify early signs of work-related ill health caused by exposure to certain hazards such as noise, vibration, radiation, solvents, fumes, dusts and other hazardous substances. It involves a regular planned assessment of one or more aspects of a worker's health, for instance lung function or skin condition. Health and safety law requires health surveillance to be undertaken when employees are exposed to health risks even when there are controls in place. This is because control measures may not always be reliable, despite appropriate checking, training, as well as maintenance.


Occupational Health Nurse doing audiometry assessment for employee

Health surveillance is important for:

  • detecting ill-health effects at an early stage, and ensuring better controls to prevent them from getting worse

  • providing data to help employers evaluate health risks

  • enabling employees to raise concerns about how work affects their health

  • highlighting lapses in workplace control measures and providing invaluable feedback to the risk assessment

  • providing an opportunity to reinforce training and education of employees, for example on the impact of health effects and the use of protective equipment


At Corazon Health we can accommodate a wide variety of health surveillance requirements, for both small and larger businesses. Some of the assessments that we conduct include:

  • Audiometry (Hearing)

  • Respiratory (Lungs)

  • Skin

  • Safety Critical

  • Driver Operated Machinery (Fork Lift Truck)

  • Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs)

  • Musculoskeletal assessments (MSK)

  • Working at Height

  • Confined Spaces

  • Biological Monitoring


You can find out more about Health Surveillance on the HSE website.


Management Referral


Management referrals to occupational health are usually initiated when an employer is concerned about employee’s physical health, mental wellbeing, frequent absences, presenteeism, or long -term sickness. This service can be beneficial for employers to gain a better understanding of an employees current health status and determine their ability to work safely or return to work after a long-term sickness absence. Occupational Health Professionals may recommend making reasonable workplace adjustments depending on the situation, for example:

  • making changes to working hours

  • providing specific equipment and support tools

  • making changes to the work environment

  • offering a phased return to work after long-term illness

  • making temporarily or permanent changes to job role

  • arranging a course of treatment (for example counselling or physiotherapy)


Our Management Referral service can provide you with a specialist, impartial opinion to help you understand the underlying health reasons behind your employees’ sickness absence or performance issues, and give advice on how you can support them so that they can stay in work and perform at their best.


New Starter Health Assessments


New Starter Health Assessment service provides businesses with a prompt and effective way

of checking whether a prospective employee has any health-related problems that could be

adversely affected by the work they will be doing. It also determines whether a pre-existing

health condition or disability may affect their ability to perform the role effectively when they join the workplace. Where issues are identified, we make recommendations to help the employee carry out their role safely and efficiently.


Our New Starter Health Assessment service will help you to move forward in the employment process with confidence that the health of your new staff members is protected and that you are compliant with the current legislation.


Drug & Alcohol Screening


Workplace drug and alcohol screening can be a key component of ensuring safety for all staff and reducing the risk of accidents due to substance misuse. It can act act as a deterrent to the misuse of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. This is particularly important in safety critical roles where employees are operating heavy machinery, using electrical equipment, working at heights or driving vehicles.


In partnership with Synlab we offer drug and alcohol screening that is UKAS accredited, RISQS certified and is accredited to forensic standards. Alcohol testing is conducted with electronic breathalysers which are the same models used by many police forces in the UK. These breathalysers produce instant and accurate results. In addition, the drug tests check for an extensive range of substances and can be performed on a for cause or routine basis depending on the business needs.


Health and Wellbeing


Workplace health promotion has grown in importance over the last years, bringing mutual benefit to employees and organisations. OH services can support businesses’ proactive management of health in the workplace and help foster a positive health culture. Taking a positive and proactive approach to staff's health and wellbeing can lead to increased resilience, better employee engagement, reduced sickness absence and higher performance and productivity.


Below are some health and wellbeing initiatives that Corazon can support you with:

  • Employee Health Checks

  • Health Leadership Courses

  • Webinars and Seminars

  • Mental Health First Aider Courses


Employee Immunisations


Employees with occupations that involve contact with biological agents are at the higher risk of being exposed to serious diseases. These may include, but are not limited to: health care workers, care home workers, medical waste disposal staff, prison or police staff, firefighters, sewage workers, as well as cleaners in medical environments. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 require employers to assess the risks from exposure to hazardous substances, including biological agents, and to bring into effect the measures necessary to protect employees from those risks as far as is reasonably practicable. Under COSHH requirements, if a risk assessment shows that there is a risk of exposure to biological agents, and effective vaccines exist, then provision should be made to establish whether an employee is already immunised, and immunisation should be offered to those who haven't had the vaccine.


If your employees have a significant occupational risk of acquiring a vaccine-preventable disease, we can help you implement a comprehensive employee vaccination programme. We provide vaccinations for:

  • Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis A

  • MMR

  • Varicella

  • Cholera

  • Tetanus

  • Diphtheria

  • Polio


Employee working in laboratory

It's crucial that organisations focus their efforts on identifying the risks in the workplace and implementing measures to reduce or eradicate them. There are legal, financial and moral reasons for this. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires all employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

This includes providing a safe work environment and system of work, issuing adequate equipment, as well as providing information, instruction, training and supervision.


Moreover, the HSE and other regulators manage online public registers of prosecutions which resulted in a successful conviction by the courts and issue press releases for each successful prosecution. Cases of civil litigation heard in the courts also enter the public domain. Such publicity risks damaging an employer’s reputation that may lead to lost business.


Taking action to create a safe and healthy work environment not only benefits employees but also contributes to the overall success of an organisation by encouraging a positive and engaged workforce. It can lower risks of litigation, increase work performance, improve staff retention, as well as reduce costs of sick pay, sickness cover, overtime and recruitment.


Get in touch with us so that we can help you adopt a range of measures to keep your staff safe and healthy.

 

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