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EBOOK: Health & Wellbeing meets Health & Safety – What you need to know

By Hero Wellbeing

Let’s face it, the world has changed since the global COVID-19 pandemic and what we thought was the norm, has been replaced by new ways of thinking and working.

Health and wellbeing has been propelled into the corporate spotlight, but health and wellbeing is broad and doesn’t just sit comfortably in the HR team, it has a substantial impact on health and safety.

This ebook from hero explores how the changing face of health and safety and how the modern day health and safety manager can create happier, healthier, and more productive workforces.

Lack of employer psychological health awareness leaves staff at higher risk of depression

A year-long Australian population study has found that full time workers employed by organisations that fail to prioritise their employees’ mental health have a threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with depression.

And while working long hours is a risk factor for dying from cardiovascular disease or having a stroke, poor management practices pose a greater risk for depression, the researchers found.

The University of South Australia study, published in the British Medical Journal, is led by UniSA’s Psychosocial Safety Climate Observatory, the world’s first research platform exploring workplace psychological health and safety.

Psychosocial safety climate (PSC) is the term used to describe management practices and communication and participation systems that protect workers’ mental health and safety.

Lead author, Dr Amy Zadow, said that poor workplace mental health can be traced back to poor management practices, priorities and values, which then flows through to high job demands and low resources.

“Evidence shows that companies who fail to reward or acknowledge their employees for hard work, impose unreasonable demands on workers, and do not give them autonomy, are placing their staff at a much greater risk of depression,” said Dr Zadow.

Internationally renowned expert on workplace mental health, ARC Laureate Professor Maureen Dollard, says the study found that while enthusiastic and committed workers are valued, working long hours can lead to depression. Men are also more likely to become depressed if their workplace pays scant attention to their psychological health.

Due to the global burden of depression, which affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide and shows no sign of abating despite available treatments, more attention is now being paid to poorly functioning work environments which could contribute to the problem.

High levels of burnout and workplace bullying are also linked to corporations’ failure to support workers’ mental health.

A second paper co-authored by Professor Dollard and published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology earlier this month, found that low PSC was an important predictor of bullying and emotional exhaustion.

“Lack of consultation with employees and unions over workplace health and safety issues, and little support for stress prevention, is linked to low PSC in companies.

“We also found that bullying in a work unit can not only negatively affect the victim, but also the perpetrator and team members who witness that behaviour. It is not uncommon for everyone in the same unit to experience burnout as a result.

“In this study we investigated bullying in a group context and why it occurs. Sometimes stress is a trigger for bullying and in the worst cases it can set an ‘acceptable’ level of behaviour for other members of the team. But above all bullying can be predicted from a company’s commitment to mental health, so it can be prevented,” Prof Dollard added.

The global costs of workplace bullying and worker burnout are significant, manifested in absenteeism, poor work engagement, stress leave and low productivity.

The extent of the problem was recognised in 2019 with the International Labour Organization (ILO) implementing a Global Commission on the Future of Work and calling for “a human-centred approach, putting people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice”.

“The practical implications of this research are far reaching. High levels of worker burnout are extremely costly to organisations and it’s clear that top-level organisational change is needed to address the issue,” Prof Dollard said.

Custom Lockout shadowboards: Efficient, top of mind safety in the workplace

By Brady

Make safety top of mind in the workplace and optimise Lockout/Tagout efficiency with highly visible, custom lockout shadowboards. Shadowboards increase the impact of Lockout/Tagout and help to further reduce maintenance risks and accidents. Read the case study from the large e-commerce company’s warehouse.

Why custom shadowboards?

  • increase efficiency by organising relevant lockout procedures, padlocks, devices, tags and accessories on shadowboards
  • keep safety and Lockout/Tagout top of mind in the workplace with highly visible shadowboards
  • maintain efficiency by promoting the return of tools to the board with tool shadows

Interested in the custom shadowboard approach? Get a custom shadowboard layout for free!

Read the case study from a large e-commerce organisation’s warehouses, where they already use highly visible custom shadowboards to optimise Lockout/Tagout efficiency and to keep safety top of mind in the workplace.

E-commerce warehouse has increased Lockout/Tagout visibility & efficiency with shadowboards

A large e-commerce organization wanted to improve maintenance safety by facilitating the use of Lockout/Tagout and by creating visibility on ongoing maintenance projects that require Lockout/Tagout in their warehouses.

Solution: Customisable master shadowboard

Brady proposed a custom master shadowboard to create the desired visibility for ongoing lockout maintenance. The master shadowboard was installed as a pilot in one of our customer’s major warehouses.

Shadowboards make Lockout/Tagout considerably more efficient, by clearly showing employees and contractors which tools they need to retrieve, and where they need to store them after servicing a machine. After a trial period, the master shadowboard was finetuned and presented as a starting point to our customer’s other warehouses. Brady customised the master version to accommodate sitespecific needs when required.

Each shadowboard is 1.4 metres high and consists of 90 cm wide panels. The board has rounded corners, and was made out of 8 mm thick white plexiglass. These large boards, that can span one or several panels, include ‘shadows’ of every Lockout/Tagout padlock, device and accessory used in a specific workplace area. All corresponding Lockout/Tagout tools are added to the board. Shadowboards make it very easy and efficient for employees to retrieve the tools they need, and to bring them back after servicing a machine. They also very visible in the workplace and serve as a constant reminder to keep safety top of mind.

Results: Efficient and highly visible Lockout/Tagout

The large e-commerce company’s warehouse employees now have Lockout/ Tagout solutions within reach to protect themselves during machine interventions. The Lockout/Tagout padlocks, decives and accessories, as well as the tags, are presented on large, highly visible shadowboards that make it easy and fast to retrieve the right tools to protect their safety.

Where do you want to take your lockout programme?

Everywhere you want to go with your Lockout/Tagout programme, Brady can guide and support you. Our complete Lockout/Tagout solution includes innovative padlocks with elaborate key planning, dedicated lockout devices, practical software and great services including energy control point identification and best in class procedure writing.

Discover Brady’s complete offer for Lockout/Tagout >>

Brady Corporation

www.brady.co.uk

SMEs ‘must react’ to demand and support staff’s health and wellbeing remotely

The pandemic is specifically affecting SMEs in terms of health and wellbeing benefits and what employers can do to react to employees’ changing requirements, writes Brett Hill, Distribution Director at Towergate Health & Protection…

SMEs are missing out   

SMEs often feel more restricted when it comes to employee benefits in general and healthcare benefits in particular. Whether it is due to budgetary restrictions, lack of options, or scarcity of resources, SMEs may find that they are not able to offer valued employees the rewards they would like. There are, however, options available and SMEs have the advantage of being quick to respond and adapt.

Health and wellbeing behaviours have changed 

The pandemic has resulted in long-term changes in health and wellbeing behaviours, with the issue moving up the agenda for SMEs, as they are less able to cover sick leave and absence due to self-isolation. There has been a sea-change in attitudes regarding how healthcare is accessed, with many people now actively preferring to access care remotely.

The impact of the pandemic

During the pandemic, direct access to GPs has become more difficult, with face-to-face consultations discouraged. Now, and throughout the course of 2021, is a critical time when NHS GP practices across the country will be occupied with the roll out of the UK’s Covid vaccination programme. With all of these factors combined, statistics have shown that employees may be reticent to approach their GP, and many illnesses and conditions are going undiagnosed. For example, Macmillan Cancer Support reports that 50,000 people have missed out on a cancer diagnosis due to the strains put on the NHS by Covid-19.

Healthcare access for beyond the insured workforce 

The pandemic saw the rapid roll out of online GP services to private medical insurance (PMI) customers in the spring of 2020, with many employees discovering the great time- and money-saving benefits of a virtual appointment. However, not all employers can afford to provide every employee with PMI, so there is a need for an affordable way for SMEs to extend their healthcare and online GP access beyond their insured workforce.

Alternative options

There has been a wealth of recent developments in making health and wellbeing benefits more relevant and accessible, particularly for smaller companies. An increasing number of options are becoming available and it is important that SMEs are aware of new developments.

Many smaller companies offer cash plans: insurance policies to help cover the cost of everyday healthcare, like visits to the dentist, optician, or physiotherapist. New advancements now make the value of cash plans go even further and SMEs need to be on top of changes such as preferential rates for remote physiotherapy services, which provide enhanced value for employers and better outcomes for employees.

Online wellbeing support 

Many SMEs offer access to support via an employee assistance programme (EAP), which may be linked to PMI, group insurance or on a standalone basis. Remote clinical services are growing in terms of popularity and possibilities. As demand for mental health support has surged during the pandemic, so has the availability of online counselling sessions, which are now frequently conducted via video link, and can help improve the employee experience.

Remote clinical services

Likewise support for physical wellbeing is also now possible on screen. Even treatments as physical as physiotherapy are available to employees online. Remote private GP services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, enabling employees to receive unlimited advice, reassurance and, where appropriate, diagnosis, private prescriptions, and open referrals, from a practising doctor from wherever they are at the time they need help, even if travelling abroad.

One of the benefits of working for an SME is the close working bond that employees can have, and this is reflected in how owners and managers look after their staff, often keen to extend support to family members and dependants. Online GP services help with this, as fast access to primary care can be extended to employees’ families.

Such a service has traditionally only been available to those employees insured on PMI or group risk insurance policies, but standalone options enable companies to extend this to the whole workforce.

Can you safely perform CPR during COVID-19?

The answer is yes. It takes only one person administering CPR at the right time to help save a life during cardiac arrest.

When CPR is performed immediately and effectively, it can  significantly increase a victim’s chance of survival — even during a pandemic.

Time is of the essence, so bystander intervention is critical to help save a life, especially during these times. Learn how you and your co-workers can safely perform hands-only CPR to  increase a victim’s chance of survival. 

Download the “Hands-only CPR During COVID-19” poster now to learn more.

Female employees more concerned about health and wellbeing than male counterparts

GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, asked 1,165 UK employees about their health and wellbeing concerns, and found that female employees have more concerns than their male colleagues.

The survey asked employees to consider six key areas of health and wellbeing and identify whether they were of personal concern to them. The results show that women have more concerns in three areas, one specific area concerned more men than women and they were equal in two areas..

  • Stress and anxiety relating to work (such as pressures of overwork, uncertainty of future) concerned 21% of women vs 18% of men.
  • Stress and anxiety relating to finances and debt concerned 18% of women vs 14% of men.
  • Stress and anxiety relating to living with long-term chronic illness or health conditions (such as diabetes) concerned 14% of women but only 8% of men.
  • Men were marginally more concerned than women about stress and anxiety relating to home life (such as caring responsibilities, managing difficult relationships) at 14% vs 12% for women.
  • Men and women were equally concerned (12%) about their general lack of fitness caused by a non-active lifestyle.
  • But neither were particularly concerned about ill-health related to lifestyle such as obesity, smoking and alcohol dependence (5%).

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “I’m sure that these results will surprise some employers and challenge the stereotypes that can be associated with gender in the workplace, for instance with women being more concerned about finances than men, and men more concerned than women about issues relating to home life. With that in mind, it’s hugely important that employers do not make assumptions about the health and wellbeing needs of their workforce on gender, or of course, any other basis.

“Changes in the law and workplace practices, such as shared parental leave, mean that work and home life are becoming much more balanced across both genders, and that needs to be reflected in the employee benefits that are offered to all staff.”

The concerns give a good indication of what support both men and women will value, and employers that offer such support will be ahead of the game. Providing help to alleviate stress from responsibilities at home; financial support; assistance with long-term health conditions – or to improve any area of health and wellbeing – will all be appreciated particularly as businesses adapt to working models which may be very different from pre-Covid 19.

A holistic and balanced employee benefits package that incorporates support for these areas will clearly be valued by a workforce.

Moxham added: “Most members of staff will be healthy and well throughout their entire time at work but no-one can predict what is just around the corner in terms of family or work life. An additional project at home, an ill child, sudden responsibilities as a carer, or health problems can all be difficult for an employee to manage at the same time as trying to work. And that’s without adding in any extra work pressures such as vying for a promotion or pay rise, navigating a relocation, or new responsibilities, or of course, new challenges that we’ve seen with Covid-19.

“No employer should expect their staff to leave their personal problems at the door any more but employers who have support mechanisms in place for their employees are able to intervene before the situation escalates, which is not only a great support for the individual but also mitigates the likelihood, frequency and length of any absence related to such issues.”

TOP TIPS: Creating a COVID-safe and secure workplace for your employees

By Oliver Morrison, CEO, Filter Digital

Now more than ever, employers are having to reassess their health and safety guidance for staff to ensure a safe and secure workplace for their employees. But how do you check your employees are well and reporting no symptoms of infectious diseases before they arrive for work?

Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe whilst at work. Many of us are used to conforming to company policy on wearing appropriate uniform and footwear, keeping walkways and access routes clear and following health and safety guidance whilst working on-site.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, it is now more than ever that employers are having to reassess their health and safety guidance for staff to ensure a safe and secure workplace for their employees.

Employers across all sectors and industries are introducing several new measures to protect their staff and to minimise risk. New office layouts, protective screens, floor graphics, one-way walkways, hand sanitising and the introduction of new Personal Protective Equipment have become commonplace.

Whilst employers can control, to an extent, what safety measures they introduce and how they implement them, empowering employees to follow them correctly and safely is paramount. Clear communication across a business is crucial to ensure everyone on-site is following the health and safety guidelines and rules.

With the spread of infectious diseases at the forefront of the implementation of enhanced measures within the workplace, there is a real need to ensure that employees are symptom-free before they enter a place of work. Whilst employers are doing all they can to ensure staff are safe at work, until now, there has been no mechanism to check staff are safe to come into work.

Safety at the workplace is paramount, and simple additional measures before reaching the workplace, such as regular communication, wellness checks, symptom reporting, records of travel or of interaction with people that have contracted COVID-19, are integral to overall safeguarding.

We’ve also collated some simple questions that can be used to regularly to check-in on employee wellbeing, to support effective and safe working.

Workspace

  • Are you comfortable in your physical workplace?
  • Do you have all of the equipment/supplies that you need to complete your work?
  • Is your working environment causing you any stress?
  • Is working from home negatively affecting your productivity?

Satisfaction

  • Are you receiving the right amount of communication?
  • Are you happy with the amount of recognition you receive for your work?
  • Do you feel recognition is meaningful when you receive it?
  • Are you feeling useful at work?
  • Do you ever feel anxious at work?

Team

  • Do you feel you can share your thoughts with your manager?
  • Do you feel you are positively encouraged to give your opinion?
  • Can you count on your colleagues when you need help?
  • Do you feel your colleagues collaborate well?

Health

  • Are you satisfied with your physical health?
  • Are you following a regular exercise or training regime?
  • Do you try to eat a healthy diet?
  • Do you feel healthy?
  • Would you be interested in having access to mental health resources at work? (such as meditation sessions, mindfulness classes etc.)

About The Author

Oliver Morrison is CEO at Filter Digital, developer of the The Safe For Work app, which provides a quick and easy way to check employees are well and reporting no symptoms of infectious diseases.

Safe For Work app enables workforces to report covid-19 symptoms

A new symptom tracking app that gives employers a written record of the daily health status of each employee is now available for download.

The Safe For Work app, developed by London-based Filter, has been designed to give colleagues working together the reassurance that everyone who is at work, is, in fact, safe to work.

It’s available now on the iOS App StoreGoogle Play Store and Web as a progressive web app and is intended to complement a company’s existing health and safety procedures.

Safe For Work allows employers to design a custom bespoke questionnaire for their employees to complete before they attend their place of work, whether that’s an office, shop, factory, warehouse, etc, to check all are well and reporting no symptoms of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.

Questions could include “do you have a temperature?”, “have you got a new, continuous cough?”, “have you travelled abroad or had close contact with anyone that has travelled in the last 14 days?”.

The app can be used on any mobile device or browser, allowing employees to communicate honestly, clearly and privately about their health so that they don’t inadvertently place colleagues at risk.

The questions posed are Yes/No by default – the results can then be used by management or HR to determine whether the employee is safe to work that day, or if the responses breach the businesses health and safety guidelines.

Filter says the Safe For Work app can be used easily by both employers and employees and can be set up to the individual needs of any company or process.

Oliver Morrison, CEO at Filter, said: “In this unique and challenging time, we wanted, as a solutions led business, to contribute some good. We recognised that the rules and practicalities of ensuring staff are safe for work had changed and aimed to provide an additional support measure to help reassure employers and employees that everyone who is at work is safe to work.

“We’re delighted to have rapidly developed Safe For Work, a convenient symptom reporting tool and have made it available for free to any business or organisation to use.”

For more information visit, https://safeforworkapp.com.