Occupational Health News & Alerts


Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Awareness

There is clear evidence that excessive and inappropriate alcohol use can have significant detrimental effects on an individual, the family and society.

Alcohol Facts:

  • Premature deaths caused by alcohol
    • Road traffic collisions
    • Suicide
    • Cancers
    • Chronic liver failure
  • Disability linked to alcohol
    • Over 150,000 years of working life lost in 2015
    • 24% of dementia linked to alcohol related brain damage.
    • Obesity due to high calorific value of beer and wine
  • Family and social cohesion breakdown
    • Partner and children physical and mental abuse including relationships breakdown
    • Financial difficulties and social isolation
    • Major contributor to public disorder and custodial sentences

 What is responsible drinking?

Safe levels of alcohol consumption depends on the individual and the situation they are in.

  • For the general healthy adult population research has shown that 14 units of alcohol for men and women spread over a week does not have a long term detrimental effect on health. Binge drinking, i.e. drinking 6 units of alcohol in one session, can have harmful short term effects.
  • For safety critical activity, e.g. driving, riding a bike, operating machinery etc., there is no safe limit. Individuals should refrain from any alcohol consumption at least 8 hours before being involved in those activities.
  • Pregnant women, especially during the first trimester, should refrain from any alcohol consumption.

Know your limits

  • One pint of beer = 2.3 units and 182 kCals (equivalent to running for 16 minutes)
  • One small glass of red wine = 2.3 units and 159 Kcals (equivalent to running for 16 minutes)
  • Small spirit measure = 1 unit and 61 Kcals (equivalent to running for 6 minutes)

Healthwork Advice and Discussion

Alcohol and the workplace

It is important that employers are aware that alcohol issues can impact on the performance and behaviour of employees in the workplace. In some operational areas, alcohol can be a Health and Safety risk and has to be managed.  This is especially important in safety critical areas of work.

Managing the risks

  • Organisations should develop a clear alcohol policy after consultation with all their stakeholders and Occupational Health.
  • Managers and supervisors should be trained on the implementation and operational processes of policies.
  • Employees and other stakeholders should also receive appropriate training so that there is a clear understanding of the policy.
  • Regular alcohol awareness campaigns are important to re-inforce messages about safe drinking.
  • It is helpful to have resources available in the workplace for employees to help with alcohol issues.
  • Occupational Health support for managers and employees to manage individual cases of alcohol concern are an important risk management measure.

Healthwork is able to manage all requirements for drug and alcohol services/testing.  Our occupational health nurses and doctors are fully trained and we can provide:

  • collection of samples
  • analysis of results
  • policy development
  • clinical and occupational health management of drug and alcohol cases in the workplace
  • training – for employees and managers
  • health promotional and wellbeing activities (e.g. mini alcohol related health checks, screenings and health promotion sessions)
occupational health physician work including medical review officer work

Healthwork Alert 46

Dyslexia Awareness Week:

In 2017, Dyslexia Awareness Week runs from 2nd October till 8th October, with the main theme of being 'Positive about Dyslexia'.

World Dyslexia Awareness Day is on 5th October 2017.

The main topics are relevant to managing dyslexia in the workplace including early identification, appropriate assessments, reasonable adjustments and raising dyslexia awareness.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty, which affects the way an individual processes information.   As a result, dyslexia hinders the acquisition of adequate literacy skills, such as reading, writing and spelling. Approximately, ten percent of the UK population have dyslexia. It is identified as a disability in the Equality Act 2010. Many sufferers cannot fulfil their potential as a large percentage of the population still do not understand what dyslexia is, the difficulties which the condition presents and do not know how best to support them. Dyslexia is not an obvious difficulty; it is hidden. So, people with dyslexia have to overcome numerous barriers to make a full contribution to society.

Healthwork Advice and Discussion:

Healthwork will support you in managing dyslexia in the workplace.

Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that disabled people are not treated unfavourably and are offered reasonable adjustments or support. Many people in the workplace have not been diagnosed with dyslexia. Some may even be unaware that they have dyslexic difficulties. Healthwork provides multiple services which can help employers identify and manage employees with dyslexia. Most importantly we can help educate managers and employees about the nature of dyslexia. Healthwork can organise assessments with Psychologists to diagnose dyslexia as well as Workplace Assessments. Occupational Health physicians and advisors can advise on practical adjustments and strategies to manage dyslexia taking into account workplace, medical, psychological and social factors. They can also advise on the applicability of the Equality Act 2010, possibility of other related cognitive issues such as dyspraxia and signposting to other relevant services which may be indicated. Healthwork also provide a number of services that may be indicated such as DSE assessments, counselling and training.
If you would like further details on how to access these services then please visit our website www.healthworkltd.com or alternatively contact us on
0161 831 9701.


Healthwork Alert 45 - Seasonal Flu Vaccinations 2017

Influenza, i.e. the flu, is a virus that can be found in humans. The viruses that cause this illness are highly adaptable and are able to change and adapt regularly to combat changes in medicines and vaccines. Therefore, unlike many diseases, vaccines are often brought out on an annual basis to combat the ‘flu’.
The virus itself is highly contagious and spread by droplets that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes. In most cases, where the infected individual was previously healthy, the illness tends to spontaneously recover within 1-2 weeks although individuals can be very unwell during the course of the infection.
The infection can be caught at work, with a resultant loss in workforce productivity secondary to increased sickness-absence within the workforce compounded by the high infectiveness of these viruses and the chance of onward transmission of the illness to fellow work colleagues.  Even in previously well individuals, the symptoms of the illness can be substantial with fever, headaches, widespread joint and muscle pain, and can be complicated by the development of further infections such as pneumonia.
In the workplace, individuals who work in more front-line roles dealing directly with other clients or members of the public are naturally at increased risk of catching these illnesses.

There are few contra-indications to the flu vaccine and certain groups are particularly encouraged to have the vaccine. These include people with:

  • Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma(which requires an inhaled or tablet steroid treatment, or has led to hospital admission in the past), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD), emphysema or bronchitis 
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinsons disease, motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis(MS)
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system
  • Women who are pregnant
Only this week it has been widely reported that flu could put much more pressure than usual on GPs and hospitals this winter following the worst outbreak in many years in Australia and New Zealand.

Healthwork is able to provide a comprehensive range of immunisation services including providing vaccinations for seasonal influenza. Our trained nurses can provide these services either on-site or at our own premises for employees.

To book in flu vaccinations at our offices or to book in days for on-site Healthwork nurse visits please contact us on 0161 831 9701

Healthwork Alert 44

Men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job

New research by Mind has shown that men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job, compared to problems outside of work.

The research surveyed 15,000 employees across 30 organisations. The study found:

  • 1 in 3 (32%) of men attribute poor mental health to their job.
  • Only 1 in 7 (14%) report poor mental health due to problems outside of work.
  • Only 1 in 3 men (31%) feel the culture of their organisation makes them feel able to speak openly about their mental health problems.

Findings from the study suggest that although men are more likely than women to have mental health problems related to their job, they are less likely to be open with their employer about it. Often men will turn to other means to try to solve or block out the problem such as alcohol, exercise or self-medication.

Positive results from the study highlighted that line manager’s feel equipped to support employees with mental health problems:

  • 3 in 4 line managers (74%) feel confident in supporting team members with mental health problems (However there was a discrepancy between the sexes with female line managers feeling more confident than male line managers (60% vs 74%)

Healthwork Advice and Discussion

We understand that recognising and supporting those with mental health problems can be difficult for employers and managers, especially when the employee is reluctant to speak openly.

At Healthwork, our aim is to work collaboratively with our customers to support and promote the health and wellbeing of their employee’s.

We have an established counselling and wellbeing service ensuring that managers and staff are provided with the support they need.

We offer a wide range of health and wellbeing services/packages which include:

  • Group work (including promoting self-help groups)

     -  Healthwork are launching a facilitated group based workshop on Tuesday October 10th. It will run over 5 weeks and we are offering 8 free places to individuals. The topic will be based on developing awareness on common mental health conditions and responding to stress.

  • Individualised one to one therapy sessions
  • Training (for staff and/or managers) Stress and mental health training promoting workplace well-being involves developing knowledge and skills in relation to the various problems that are likely to arise
  • Preventive support we can now offer preventative support such as a Wellbeing check in, supervision and consultative support

Additionally, we are proud to provide early intervention counselling treatment and psychiatric assessments where required.

If you would like further details on the workshops or on any of the health promotion programmes that Healthwork have to offer please contact us on 0161 831 9701 or alternately visit our website www.healthworkltd.com

Trainee Occupational Health Advisor - Vacancy

Healthwork have a great opportunity! We are recruiting a trainee occupational health advisor. This is a full time position covering mainly Manchester and Liverpool. The training is fully funded and time will be given to attend the University of Chester weekly. The candidate will be allocated a mentor and practice teacher. Healthwork have successfully trained a number of occupational health advisors who have since been promoted in to more senior roles. If you are interested in this role, please contact Alison Hussain - admin@healthworkltd.com