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The latest HSE statistics reveal some interesting points that highlight the state of health and safety in the UK, between 2020 and 2021

2020/21 has firmly rooted health and safety in our day-to-day lives and our cultural consciousness. However, the latest statistics from the HSE prove we still have a long way to go. Simon Walter, Co-Director at Rhino Safety, shares his thoughts on what the focus should be in 2022.

 

  • Work-related ill-health cases increased from 1.6 million to 1.7 million
  • New cases of work-related ill health rose from 638,000 to 850,000, a 33% increase
  • The number of workers suffering from a new case of work-related stress, anxiety and depression rose by 30%, from 347,000 to 451,000
  • The major cause of new and long-standing cases of work-related ill-health is stress, depression and anxiety, which accounts for an astonishing 50% of cases
  • Musculoskeletal issues are next at 28%, while other types of illnesses account for 22%, Workers suffering from a new case of work-related musculoskeletal disorder rose by 6.5% from 152,000 to 162,000
  • Workers who sustained non-fatal injuries (self-reported) decreased by 36%. Non-fatal injuries reported by employers also fell by 22%
  • The major cause of non-fatal injuries across all industries is slips, trips and falls. In 2019/20 it accounted for 29% of incidents. In 2020/21 it rose to 33%
  • Fatal injuries at work rose from 111 in 2019/20 to 142 in 2020/21. The major cause of fatal injuries is falling from height, which is consistent with previous years
  • Over half of fatal injuries to workers in 2020/21 were in agriculture, forestry and fishing (34%) and construction sectors (39%)

Looking at these statistics, there’s a lot to reflect on. Among them are things we can do in 2022 to ensure that health and safety remain at the forefront of policy and strategy across a wide range of industries and sectors.

So – what are the key things we should focus on to move the dial on health and safety in 2022?

1. Keep health and safety in focus

2. Prioritise and incorporate mental health and wellbeing into health and safety practice/policies etc

3. Reduce the threat of musculoskeletal disorders across multiple industries

Read what the latest Public Health guidance means for your business

The guidance appears therefore to be quite confusing. On the one hand COVID safety measures are no longer required for the majority of businesses, but on the other the guidance to self-isolate has been significantly widened. This leaves employers in a real bind as to what to do and leaves open the ongoing significant interruption to business that periods of self-isolation create. Employers will need to give thought to what, if any, other protective measures (such as screens and sanitiser) they wish to retain should they wish to insist on those suffering from a respiratory illness coming to work.

What to do if a member of staff has symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19

If a member of staff is unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, they should follow the guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19.

Employers, in accordance with their legal obligations, may wish to consider how best to support and enable their workforce to follow this guidance as far as possible.

Management of members of staff who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19

Some workers are at a greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, for example people who have a weakened immune system.

There is specific guidance for people whose immune system means that they are at higher risk, because they have a reduced ability to fight infections, such as COVID-19. Employers may wish to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

It is unclear whether there will be any specific updates to the Living with COVID plan but pulling together the various strands we now know:

 

The guidance is to be updated monthly and we will have to see what impact the loss of free mass testing and the updated self-isolation requirements will have.

I am so super proud today to announce that I am now a qualified MHFA (Mental Health First Aider), 1 of 100 that The Jordan Legacy CIC and Steve Phillip will achieve as part of their 2021 / 22 Campaign

 

A Huge Thank you to Tara Powell Our Fabulous Facilitator; and the Super Supportive Great Team of like minded, genuine and caring humans, thank you to those who also bravely shared their own ‘lived’ stories, there were some truly emotional moments
It is difficult to ‘sum’ up the MHFA Training, as those that know me well, know ‘i am not really a girl with few words’…….
Therefore here are some words instead; early intervention, suicide, recovery, listen, communication, warning signs, support, signpost, seeds of hope, positive change, structure, zero suicide, advocate, language, remove assumptions, non-judgemental, safeguard, triggers, self-care, WRAP, wellbeing strategies, duty of care, social responsibility, positive mental health, emotional intelligence (EI), ALGEE, myths and facts, statistics… the list could go on and on…..
Let us all remember Our own social responsibility; to help break down the negative stigma surrounding mental ill health and encourage more and more people to open up, let’s push and drive this positive change forward, whether in the workplace, in your personal life or with a stranger.

Remember it could be ‘You’ who makes that positive difference and plants those ‘seeds of hope’

Dee Newton – HR Business Partner – Craven HR Services 

 

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.
You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health, and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe.
You’ll also learn how to empower someone to access the support they might need for recovery or successful management of symptoms. This could include self-help books or websites, accessing therapy services through their GP, their school or place of work, online self-referral, support groups, and more.
What’s more, you’ll gain an understanding of how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around you. This online course qualifies you as a Mental Health First Aider, giving you:
  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing 
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mix
  • Certification to say you are a Mental Health First Aider
  • A manual to refer to whenever you need it
  • A quick reference card for the Mental Health First Aid action plan
  • A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your own mental health

Interested in becoming or sponsoring a MHFA?  https://thejordanlegacy.com/how-you-can-sponsor-or…/

A stress risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what in a workplace could cause staff to suffer from work-related stress. This is so that you can weigh up whether you have done enough, or should do more to prevent harm.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health of their employees at work. This includes taking steps to make sure they do not suffer stress-related illness as a result of their work.

Employers also have a specific duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.  They must undertake risk assessments that seek to identify, and eliminate or reduce, risks to their employees’ health, safety and welfare. Stress is one of the risks to health, safety and welfare that must be assessed.

Risk assessments must be reviewed periodically.  This should be whenever there is a change to any aspect of the work activity which could significantly affect the health, safety, or wellbeing of employees.  They should also be reviewed under any other circumstances where the existing risk assessment is thought to be no longer valid. The regular period of review should be decided locally.  This will depend on the level of risk and how susceptible to change the activity is.  This includes a stress risk assessment.

Hazard Identification – Factors to be considered

When considering the likelihood that a work-activity could result in employees becoming stressed, it is necessary to first identify the potential hazards. The section below includes the factors identified by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as being most significant contributors to workplace stress.  Also a list of eight factors – external factors that can impact on individual ability to cope with work pressures

Factor Considerations

1. Demands – High volume of work, competing priorities, unrealistic deadlines, intense periods of activity, requirement for very fast work.  Also expectation of very long hours, high pressured environment.

2. Control Level over pattern of work and breaks, inability to decide on work speed, priorities, access to flexible working.

3. Role Clarity – understanding of role itself; how to carry it out; how it relates to immediate team and the wider organisation’s strategic plans.

4. Relationships – Inter-relationships with work colleagues, staff, and manager(s); bullying; harassment; conflict; unkind behaviour.

5. Support in dealing with work difficulties, accessibility, constructive feedback, praise for good work, encouragement.

6. Support from Colleagues – Support/assistance in dealing with work difficulties, respect.

7. Change Communication, consultation, and management of change.

8. External Factors – Mental health, other serious ill health, bereavement, dependant illness.

Required Actions and Prioritisation

Ideally, when considering risk assessment, the goal should be to remove the hazard. In relation to work-related stress, this may only be possible in a limited number of situations.  The standard adopted in law when considering the cost, both financial and operational, of implementing a control measure is reasonable practicability. The next best measure is either to reduce the hazard, or the likelihood of it causing harm, through various control mechanisms.

When determining the specific required actions, consider the gaps you found when looking at existing control measures.  Also consider whether equivalent measures could be implemented in the relevant work area.

Always consult with the affected staff for their contribution to ideas that might help resolve the difficulties. Consequently, this can either remove the hazard or reduce the level of risk.

It is important to appreciate that whilst some control measures help to reduce or prevent stress, others serve only to support employees who are already experiencing stress. Whilst, in time, these support mechanisms may assist those employees in recovering from this episode of stress, and even avoiding future episodes, the employee has already experienced harm. This in no way invalidates such measures which are widely recognised as not only valuable but also an expected facility for staff of responsible employers. However, provision of support services is generally perceived by the regulatory bodies as the minimum standard an employer can adopt to manage workplace stress.

We can help you with risk assessing your workplace, just get in touch.

Work Related Stress

Work related stress is how you feel when you have demands at work that exceed how much you feel you can cope with. Over 11 million working days are lost each year because of work related stress, and stress can contribute to conditions such as anxiety or depression. Read more

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has released the second part of its guidance into work related stress. It looks at practical steps you can take to help reduce stress at work from informal talks with staff, performance appraisals to sickness data and accident statistics. Under the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 there is a legal obligation to manage risks to employees’ health. More information can be found here http://rospaworkplacesafety.com/2013/07/09/work-related-stress/