Occupational Health News & Alerts


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 

Healthwork Alert 43 - Free ergonomic / DSE training

Workstation assessments – is meeting the HSE legal requirements enough to keep your workforce healthy and Productive? Take advantage of a free service!

DSE (Display Screen Equipment) Workstation Risk Assessments are required to meet the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992/2002. A basic tick list is sometimes provided for employees to complete themselves, however, there are inherent problems with this. Often employees will simply tick all boxes and rush through the form but continue to experience pain in the back, neck or wrists. Sometimes the assessments are carried out by non-medical personnel so although the equipment may all be set up correctly the user may very well continue to work in potentially harmful postures. Sometimes an inadequate assessment can lead to unnecessary equipment being provided by the employer which could have been avoided by correcting the posture of the user. It is possible to work in very poor postures even when provided with the very best equipment and it is also possible to adopt  great working posture with poor equipment. The posture adopted will always be more important than the equipment provided.

Healthwork and our partners Metro Physio want to help you for free!

Healthwork works closely with our partners Metro Physio who have been providing ergonomic services and occupational physiotherapy since 1992 to a wide variety of organisations. Metro Physio have therefore for many years been treating the conditions that employees develop when working with poor posture and incorrect joint positions. They are keen to educate a wider audience of the benefits of occupational health and ergonomics and how to prevent these conditions developing. They are therefore offering to provide a free of charge short talk of approximately 45 minutes to your employees. This will cover how to set up a workstation but more importantly the correct position of every joint, good posture and good working practices. They will also explain the potential problems or conditions that can develop when working with poor postures which results in the employee being much more compliant with the advice provided.
This service will act as further education and a refresher for employees who have already received an assessment though it is important to note that this service alone does not fulfil the HSE legal requirements as each employee should receive an individual assessment.   
If you would like further details on how access this free service then please email us at admin@healthworkltd.com or contact us on 0161 831 9701.


Manchester Arena Bombing - free support

Manchester Arena Bombing - free support

Everybody at Healthwork was deeply saddened, shocked, horrified and moved following the Manchester bombing.  

As a Manchester based company, we take pride in our great city, and we are proud of the part that we play in the health and wellbeing of working people in the city.  

In order to help any employees that may have been affected directly by the incident, we will for the next six weeks be offering free counselling and support sessions which we will be funding ourselves. This is a free offer to any employee within your organisation who may have been affected by the bombing.  

We would like to offer free support for any of your employees who may have been directly affected by the incident.  We employ fully accredited and trained doctors, nurses, and counsellors.  We would be happy for one of our trained counsellors to speak to any employee who has been affected directly by the terror incident.  

It can often help employees to speak to somebody independent about their feelings as a form of debriefing. We would then follow this up with a contact again in about four weeks, time to ensure that the individual is progressing satisfactorily and has all the support in place that they may need. 

Accessing Support

We hope that this offer of help will be useful and if any of your employees wish to speak confidentially to one of our counsellors, they can either telephone us on 0161 831 9701 or email us at admin@healthworkltd.com , and we can then arrange a time for them to speak to one of our counsellors.