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Stuart O'Brien

Put driver safety in the front seat at the Fleet Summit

If your company operates a fleet then all your driver safety and training needs will be covered at this year’s double-header of Fleet Summit events – Make sure you register for your free delegate place today!

Spread over the course of two days, the Fleet Summit is specifically organised for senior professionals within organisations that maintain a fleet of vehicles, and those who provide the latest and greatest products and services within the sector.

The next event takes place in a couple of weeks on the 13th & 14th of June at Whittlebury Park in Northampton – and it could be your most beneficial two days out of the office this year – Secure your free pass today!

The Fleet Summit allows you to:-

– Meet with providers that can support your driver health & safety and training projects, plans, and events.
– Learn from insightful and educational seminar sessions
– Network with peers who share your daily challenges

You’ll also enjoy overnight accommodation, an evening drinks reception, networking dinner with entertainment, lunch and refreshments throughout.

All of this will be provided to you entirely for free. Here are what previous attendees had to say;

“Excellent event. Really good to meet suppliers and see new innovation that’s on the market and what’s coming up for the future” – City of London

“This was my first summit, and I really enjoyed it. Great to network. I have already set up accounts with new suppliers to enhance my business going forward” – ThinkBDW

“An excellent, well-organised event providing informative seminars with the ability to meet with several suppliers all under one roof” – Cancer Research UK

Visit our website for more information or confirm your free attendance here.

And if you can’t make the June event, the second Fleet Summit of 2022 will take place on November 7th & 8th at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre, London Heathrow – Register now to secure your place as demand is high.

How to support the mental health of employees that work remotely

By Tanya Woolf, Head of Psychological Services at Onebright

Remote working has presented challenges for companies of all sizes. Regardless of the size of a company, one thing that remains true is that fostering connection and camaraderie remains key to a healthy and productive working environment, especially with workforces more evenly split between the office and home. For those who need to work remotely, random office chats are missed out on, which can often result in a distinct feeling of loneliness and a struggle to maintain motivation at a distance.

This makes regular mental health check-ins more critical than ever before. When workers feel psychologically safe to express their emotions no matter where they are working from, it will help to set a cultural foundation that will encourage and motivate them to perform to the best of their ability, as well as creating a happier and more productive workplace culture.

Not only will this benefit the mental wellbeing of your workforce, but it can also have a notable financial impact on your business. For every £1 spent supporting the mental health of your workers, you will get £5 back on your investment on average in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.

What signs of loneliness do I need to look out for?

Withdrawing from interaction

When an employee begins to withdraw from consistent interaction, this is the first clear sign that they are beginning to struggle, perhaps feeling isolated or lonely. If a remote worker suddenly stops offering suggestions or participating in goal setting, they might be feeling disconnected from the team.

Missing deadlines

If a usually dependable team member starts turning in sloppy work or begins missing deadlines when working remotely, this is another good indication that they may be beginning to experience difficulties, which may include feeling disconnected or lonely.

How can I best support my remote employees?

Consistent communication

That first step that you can as an employer to help support the mental health of those working remotely is to put processes in place that facilitate meaningful, consistent communication. This can be difficult, given that it is unlikely that you will see every employee every day, especially those working remotely.

This is where signs of an employee struggling can fly under the radar for a long time. However, when managers can demonstrate their awareness and understanding of how commonplace conditions such as anxiety and depression can be, this can remove part of the stress of trying to hide the problem on those occasions when someone checks in. It may feel uncomfortable at first and even more unfamiliar in a virtual setting. Still, leaders who can talk about and show a broad spectrum of emotions are role models for healthy behaviours.

Mental health awareness training

Undertaking mental health awareness training will help to equip you with the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, their teams, and colleagues. As our working situations evolve, so do expectations of how employers should support their people. Employers who seek guidance from mental health experts are better able to meet the demands of the modern employee. 

Mindfulness training

Mindfulness is a state of heightened awareness of yourself, your environment, and other people. Being mindful means you are very aware of your thoughts and feelings, but you do not react or judge them. One study has measured the relationship between mindfulness amongst management teams and their employees; it showed that as mindfulness increased, employee work-related stress improved work-life balance and enhanced engagement. 

Online mental health therapy

Finally, with waiting times for public mental health services at an all-time high, business leaders should look to provide their workforces with the option of easily accessible, online mental health therapy services as a fast and efficient first step to help those who need support.

Recent studies have found that when combined with clinical care, online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can effectively treat depression, anxiety, and emotional distress, whilst many other studies have also demonstrated that online CBT is equally as effective at reducing the severity of depression symptoms as in-person CBT.

Who cares for the carers?

June 6th marks the start of Carers Week the theme of which is ‘make caring visible, valued and supported’. With a growing number of employees now facing dual caring responsibilities, this is an important issue for staff and business alike. 

With this in mind Cream HR director Anthony Sutton is asking the question what can businesses do to support carers in the workforce whilst also operating a successful business?

Millions of people in the UK (and globally) are facing an incredibly challenging time in their lives.  Life expectancy has been growing for decades and the care of our elderly is therefore falling on offspring, who are generally of working age, and lasting for many years. When this is combined with the fact that people are now starting families later in life, the burden of caring for both children and parents is often falling at the same time.  Those for whom this is affecting, known as the ‘sandwich generation’ are carrying huge pressures that can threaten to overwhelm them.

According to a new poll commissioned by leading UK employee benefits provider Unum, it is estimated that more than 6 million people in the UK workforce — over 1 in 5 workers — are juggling dual caring responsibilities for children and elderly relatives and these numbers are expected to grow.

For the majority of these people the challenges of looking after children, ageing parents and maintaining a job can cause untold pressure – financial burdens, time commitments, stress and worry. 

With Carer’s Week approaching, and the challenges faced by this generation not expected to let up any time soon, it is vitally important that employers recognise the issues raised and find ways of supporting their employees, whilst also maintaining a successful business.

So what can businesses do to support carers in the workforce?  Anthony Sutton says “as always is matters of people, communicate and be flexible.”

  • Provide an open forum for employees to voice their concerns
  • Reassure them that you understand their situation
  • Be flexible with requests from employees to move their working hours to accommodate planned appointments or emergencies
  • Consider benefits packages that include healthcare support for employees and their families
  • Provide employees with access to wealth management or financial advice as the financial pressures can be a huge burden
  • Inform employees about childcare support options such as tax-free childcare
  • If employees run out of annual leave or other paid leave consider being more flexible around offering unpaid leave or working back hours at a later time
  • If an employee needs quite a bit of time off, you could consider offering a sabbatical
  • Consider fundraising/supporting/offering volunteering opportunities for a charity chosen by an employee e.g., a local hospice, children’s hospital etc to help your employee feel appreciated and understood at a difficult time for them.

Sutton says: “Whilst these steps won’t alleviate the dual caring responsibilities for your employee, they will undoubtedly help the employee feel supported and better able to manage the challenges they face.  This should mean that they are able to concentrate better when they are at work and will enable them to re-engage with work properly when the time comes. Whilst caring for the team is important it is also vital that employers put contingencies in place to look after themselves.”

It can be hard for employers to lose employees to other commitments when they have a business to run and so whilst they should keep communicating and aiming to understand that unforeseen challenges might occur, it is also vital to set some realistic expectations.  This could mean setting clear priorities and business critical deadlines for things that need to be completed by a certain time.  Employers should also be aware that discrimination by association is illegal.  This means that if an employee cares for someone with a disability then they will be protected by the Equality Act 2010, and any disciplinary action taken by the employer with regards to this may be unlawful.

CHAS announces single compliance solution to manage multiple supply-chain risks 

CHAS, the trusted name in supply chain risk management, has introduced CHAS Elite. This comprehensive compliance solution enables buyers and suppliers to demonstrate their regulatory compliance around health and safety, environmental issues, modern slavery, diversity, equality and inclusion, in a single product.

As supply chains become increasingly global and complex, the risk of compliance breaches is also on the rise. With CHAS Elite, buyers and suppliers can be assured that they are meeting the highest standards for health and safety, environmental protection, and social responsibility, with assessment against an increased range of associated risk categories. With an intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools, CHAS Elite makes it easy for organisations to identify and manage risks across their supply chain.

What’s more, CHAS Elite is constantly updated with the latest changes in regulations, enabling organisations to identify potential risks early on and take steps to mitigate them before they become damaging or disruptive.

CHAS Managing Director, Ian McKinnon comments: “We believe that CHAS Elite has the potential to transform how businesses approach supply chain risk management, enabling buyers and suppliers to demonstrate their compliance across a wider range of environmental, social and corporate governance regulations in a single platform.

By providing a comprehensive view of supplier performance, CHAS Elite is helping organisations to drive continuous improvement and ensure that their supply chains are compliant, efficient and reliable, whilst also enabling our community of more than 32,000 contractors to show they take their risk management responsibilities seriously.”

CHAS Elite builds on CHAS’s 25-year history of making Great Britain safer. Since CHAS’s launch, workplace fatalities have halved, and workplace accident rates have fallen by an estimated 220%. CHAS has also driven continual progress in supply chain management efficiency thanks to a commitment to promoting industry collaboration, including working with key industry bodies to develop standards, minimise duplication and reduce costs.

Ian McKinnon continues: “CHAS is once again setting the standard for supply chain risk management with a solution that helps businesses to identify risks early and take action to mitigate them, preventing disruptions and protecting their bottom line. Contact us today to join the many other industry-leading businesses taking advantage of CHAS’s free client services or find out how to become one of our trusted contractors to grow your business and your reputation.” 

CHAS is the leading provider of risk prevention, compliance and supply chain management services for clients and contractors.

CHAS is an authority and trusted advisor on health and safety compliance and responsible for setting industry benchmarks. Our aims are to:

  • standardise and simplify health and safety assessment for contractors
  • support organisations in efficiently managing their supply chains
  • deliver a full suite of supply chain management tools.

CHAS Elite accreditation assesses risk across the following categories:

Health and Safety;

Insurance;

Financial;

Environmental;

Quality Management;

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI);

Anti-Bribery and Corruption;

Modern Slavery;

Corporate and Professional Standing;

Corporate Social Responsibility

Information Management;

Identity and

Information Security

Find out more at: www.chas.co.uk or call 0345 521 9111

Look after your employees at the Total Security Summit

As a leading health & safety professional you’re invited to attend the Total Security Summit, which is taking place on the 10th & 11th October in Manchester.

Unlike large expos, this intimate, hassle-free event allows you to build beneficial business relationships with suppliers that match your current project/business requirements.

10th & 11th October – Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport

Click here to book your free place

Your free pass includes:

– A corporate itinerary of one-to-one meetings with solution providers
– A seat at our industry seminar sessions (live attendance only)
– Overnight stay at the venue
– A place at our networking dinner, with entertainment
– All meals and refreshments throughout
– Networking breaks to make new connections in your field

Click here to book your free place

Do you specialise in Site Safety? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Health & Safety Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the security market – and in June we’ll be focussing on Site Safety.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help health & safety buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Site Safety solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Charlotte Povey on c.povey@forumevents.co.uk.

Our Features List in full:-

JunSite Safety
JulLone Worker Safety & Equipment
AugFire Safety Management
SepRisk Management/Assessments
OctStress Management
NovOccupational Health & Wellbeing Services
DecHealth & Safety Software

WEBINAR REWIND: Burnout Behind the Scenes – Health & Safety Practitioners Under Pressure

Don’t worry if you missed last week’s insightful RiskPal webinar addressing the hidden signs of burnout – you can rewatch the entire session on-demand!

The pandemic started as a whirlwind before evolving into a long-drawn-out storm. For many companies, Health & Safety practitioners became the first point of contact for the provision of advice, risk assessments and response, dramatically increasing their workload and stress. The two-year pandemic elevated the importance of Health and Safety to the forefront of business resilience and staff health. Ironically, this has meant that Health & Safety people have been under enormous emotional and physical pressure to keep their businesses going, often at the cost of their own wellbeing.

The webinar features IOSH President Louise Hosking, Ruth Denyer (Co-President of IIRSM), and Michael Byrne (Group Head of Health & Safety at News UK), reflecting on the experiences of the sector and identify unresolved issues. Most importantly it focuses on realistic solutions organisations have adopted to manage burnout amongst Health & Safety practitioners.

For more information, visit www.riskpal.com, or email info@riskpal.com.

You can watch the entire session again below:

Paid sick leave most in-demand employee benefit

Paid sick leave tops the list of benefits and incentives that matter most to British employees, according to new research by HR and payroll software provider CIPHR.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, after two years of pandemic-led disruption and rising living costs, among the most popular employee benefits are those which help supplement squeezed incomes, support people’s health, and encourage work-life balance. 

For over two-thirds (67%) of the 1,001 people polled, sick pay is the employee benefit that they value most, followed by flexible working hours (57%) and pension contribution matching (46%) – where employers offer to match employees’ pension payments on top of the minimum auto-enrolment requirements.

Mental health and wellbeing support ranks fourth. Receiving a performance bonus and working a four-day week – enabling employees to earn the same wages for fewer hours – are in fifth and sixth place (selected by 40%, 39% and 37% of people respectively).

Next on the list, in seventh place, is extra holiday allowance, which, interestingly, was preferred by more people than unlimited paid leave (32% vs 18%).

Being able to save money on purchases via an employee discounts scheme (30%), having a flexible working location (27%), and receiving a market-value salary (26%) complete the employees’ top 10.

When it comes to employee benefits, every individual’s requirements and priorities differ, of course. And the order of importance varies depending on who is being asked. For workers over 45 years old, for example, getting their pension contributions matched (to help them build a bigger pension pot faster) appears to be more beneficial than being able to work flexible hours (59% vs 45%). For those under 45 years old, who are further away from retirement, it’s the opposite – with more people in this age group ranking flexible working hours higher than pension contribution matching (57% vs 42%).

There are also a few differences between what male and female survey respondents want from their employers’ benefits packages. Statistically, women place more importance on receiving help towards childcare assistance than a market-value salary (27% vs 21%). More men, on average, favour being awarded a performance bonus over being paid a market-value salary (45% vs 34%).

Here’s a rundown of the top 15 benefits and perks for all employees:

  1. Paid sick leave (67%)
  2. Flexible working hours (57%)
  3. Pension contribution matching (46%)
  4. Mental health and wellbeing support (40%)
  5. Performance bonus (39%)
  6. Four-day work week on full-time pay (37%)
  7. Extra holiday allowance (32%)
  8. Employee discounts scheme (30%)
  9. Flexible working location (27%)
  10. Market-value salary (26%)
  11. Childcare assistance (23%)
  12. Health insurance or cash-back plans (21%)
  13. Extra paid day off for birthdays (21%)
  1. Extended paid parental leave (20%)
  2. Death benefits (18%)
  3. Unlimited paid leave (18%)

The full list – featuring the top 25 most important benefits and incentives to employees – is available to view at https://www.ciphr.com/survey-infographic-the-benefits-incentives-employees-value-most.

86% of employers think employees require more support for health and wellbeing since the pandemic


Of the four pillars of health and wellbeing – mental, physical, social, and financial health – mental health has been placed as the top issue for concern from employers and also the area where employees would most like more support, with 40% of employers saying they are more concerned about the mental health of staff since the pandemic.  

That’s according to the results from Towergate Health & Protection’s research into the changes in health and wellbeing support needed by employees since the pandemic.

Increasing concerns 

Employers are also now more concerned about all areas of health and wellbeing:

  • 22% are more concerned about the physical health of employees, with difficulty getting to see GPs, pressures on the NHS, and delays in being diagnosed and treated for serious conditions. 
  • 17% are more concerned for the financial health of employees since the pandemic. 
  • 13% are more concerned about social health including, for instance, increased isolation.

Changing expectations
Over half (53%) of employers say their employees would like more mental health support since the pandemic. Forty-one percent feel that social support is needed more than previously. Over a third (36%) believe their staff now want more support for their financial health, and another third (36%) also think employees want more help with their physical health since the pandemic. 

Overall, this means that 86% of employers believe employee expectations have changed and that they require more support for their health and wellbeing since the pandemic. 

Larger corporates Vs SMEs
The impact of the pandemic on mental health effect appears to have been felt more by employees in larger companies. Nearly half (49%) of employers in companies with 250+ staff said they are more concerned about the mental health of staff since the pandemic. This compares to 37% of SMEs. 

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of large corporates said employees would like more mental health support than previously, compared to less than half (46%) of SMEs. 

Re-evaluating 
Brett Hill, head of distribution for Towergate Health & Protection, said: “Employers need to re-evaluate their healthand wellbeing support in the wake of Covid. Working practices have changed and so have attitudes and expectations. It is important for any health and wellbeing programme to recognise the changing needs of employees and to be adaptable as we adjust to life post-pandemic.”  

Surveying needs
A good way to re-evaluate and reposition health and wellbeing is to start by asking employees what they want. This may be through a simple survey or a more complex mix of ideas forums, research, and focus groups. Being aware that requirements may have changed is an important first step.   

Making help available
While mental health has been highlighted as the biggest issue, the research shows that increased support is required across all four of the pillars of health and wellbeing. Employers need to ensure that employees have access to the support that will most benefit them and meet with their individual requirements.   A benefits platform can also assist here where employees can access all benefits in one place. 

Mental health support can be available in many forms, from talking with colleagues and managers, to offering access to specialist independent counselling. 

Health and fitness benefits have advanced greatly recently. There are now a great many apps, reward schemes and groups to help encourage staff to have a healthy lifestyle, including starting and maintaining fitness regimes. The pandemic has seen a rise in the use of virtual GPs and online consultations, and these can make appointments easier to arrange and quicker to attend. 

It is social lives that have perhaps changed the most throughout the pandemic. It is important for employers to look at new ways to allow employees to socialise together, especially if a move has been made to hybrid working. 

Financial health must not be forgotten. Financial concerns can cause a great deal of stress, leading itself to physical, mental and social ill health. Benefits that help people manage their finances, and that offer a direct financial benefit can be a great support to employees.

Hill concluded: ‘There have been a lot of challenges for businesses and their workforces to deal with during the pandemic, and these have affected all areas of health and wellbeing. Now is a good time for employers to look at solutions available for them to help their staff.’

42% of employees don’t know about or understand all their employee benefits

Research from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector has shown that 42% of employees don’t know about or understand all their employee benefits. According to HRs:

  • 25% are aware of them but don’t understand them all
  • 11% are aware of some of them, and
  • 6% don’t know about or understand any of them

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Employers put in a lot of time, effort and resources to get the right benefits for their staff. For them to be valued, utilised and understood, it’s absolutely vital that companies communicate them.”

Methods used to communicate benefits included apps, written and promotional campaigns, with the most popular being:

  • Email, utilised by 37% of employers
  • Staff welcome pack, utilised by 34% of employers
  • Staff handbook, utilised by 29% of employers
  • Noticeboard, utilised by 27% of employers
  • Company intranet, utilised by 24% of employers
  • Before day one of employment/offer letter, utilised by 22% of employers

Eight percent of employers admit to not communicating any employee benefits at all.

Employees themselves were asked how they like to have their benefits communicated, and the order of popularity largely mirrors what companies are doing.

  • Email, preferred by 38% of employees
  • Staff welcome pack, preferred by 25% of employees
  • Company intranet, preferred by 22% of employees
  • Staff handbook, preferred by 17% of employees
  • Before day one of employment/offer letter, preferred by 16% of employees
  • Noticeboard, preferred by 15% of employees

Moxham continued: “It’s great to see a wide range of communication methods being utilised. Different methods will resonate with different staff, so the best way to get the message across is to use a mix, including digital, written and in-person.”

Pandemic

Forty-three percent of employers say they changed how they communicate their benefits in light of the pandemic. Sixty percent increased their activity, 53% placed more emphasis on their support for wellbeing and 45% increased their investment.

Moxham concluded: “During the pandemic, people looked to their employers for support for health and wellbeing. This was an opportunity for employers to tell their staff about all the benefits they offered, from healthcare and group risk to all the embedded services such as access to virtual GPs and counselling – all the support that people needed and were struggling to get, but could access via their employee benefits.

“This increase in activity to communicate employee benefits will pay dividends and we’d encourage employers to continue with this.”