Occupational Health News & Alerts - Archived News - 2017


Health Promotion Activities - Alcohol Awareness

Health Promotion Activities - Alcohol Awareness

The post-Christmas detox has become an annual tradition in the UK. This January will see thousands of adults in the UK take part in Dry January. Starting on the first day of the month, participants vow to go 31 days without alcohol in a New Year tradition that has been endorsed by Cancer Research UK and Alcohol Concern. Research shows that

•    71% of participants remaining abstinent for the time of the campaign.
•    At 6 month follow-up approximately 60% reported a reduction in drinking days per week.
•    Overall, participating in the campaign was associated with reductions in alcohol use at six months, particularly for those who successfully completed the challenge.

What could your employees expect to gain from going alcohol-free for the month of January? They’ll have more energy, thanks to more sleep, and more time thanks to no hangovers! They may notice weight loss and a potential reduction in mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety.

Healthwork Advice and Discussion

Healthwork has developed various health and wellbeing services.  Health promotional and preventative activities in relation to alcohol awareness, will provide your staff with useful health information to help them reflect on their overall health and help drive a conversation about alcohol: why do we drink it, what does it do, and how can we reduce the harm it can cause?

What Services can Healthwork offer?

•    Alcohol Presentations - these can be given in person as a talk by a clinician to employees and managers.  These can also be provided as visual-audio presentations on a screen next to a health promotion stand.

•    Leaflets & merchandise with tips on alcohol, healthy diet and exercise for your employees.
> Alcohol and mental health:  Looking at stress; depression and anxiety
> Alcohol & other health effects:  Cancer; diabetes; dementia; hypertension; brain damage

•    If given enough notice, we can also arrange for co-branded presentations  so your employees will know that they work for a company that values their wellbeing.

•    A health check stand where employees can attend for a health check of their blood pressure, weight and blood levels of alcohol and liver function and receive individual advice. This stand is run by trained clinicians.

If you would like further details on any of our health and wellbeing programmes that Healthwork have to offer or information on any other occupational health requirement, please contact us on 0161 831 9701 or alternately visit our website www.healthworkltd.com

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 

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.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week will run from 8-14 May 2017.  The theme is ‘Surviving or Thriving’, and the focus will be to ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, rather than thriving with good mental health.

New research released by the Mental Health Foundation and employee benefits provider, Unum, reveals that people with mental health problems delivered a significant contribution (£226 billion) to the UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, working in a wide range of industries from construction to entertainment.

However, the research highlights a high level of stress experienced in the workplace and also suggested strategies for protecting and improving mental health at work. The survey found

86% of respondents believe that their job and being at work was important to their mental health

88% of those who had been diagnosed with a mental health problem in the last 5 years reported times where they had felt stressed, over whelmed at work.

39% of line managers who had no history of mental health problems indicated they had experienced significant distress, with 5% having been in work whilst experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.

A crucial factor in protecting mental health at work is the support they receive. The survey highlighted that:

58% of respondents had chosen to disclose their mental health condition and 54% had a mainly positive experience.

half of respondents who had disclosed a mental health condition had felt well supported by their manager.

We understand that it can be difficult for employers and managers to identify when an employee is experiencing common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and feelings associated with stress. We understand that it can be even harder to know how to support that person. 

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

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

Group work (including promoting self-help groups) A distinct advantage to this type of intervention is that it helps to shift the focus away from individuals to incorporate interpersonal and group processes and set the scene for exploring wider social and organisational concerns.  

Healthwork are delighted to be launching a facilitated group based workshop in September on responding and managing stress. It will run over 5 weeks and we are offering 8 free places to individuals. 

Individualised one to one therapy sessions

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


Healthwork nominated for Business award

We are delighted to announce that Healthwork has been shortlisted for the Greater Manchester Business of the year award.  The awards evening will be in May 2017, and we are all very excited that we have been nominated and shortlisted for this prestigious award.  

For more details please click here

Wish us luck!!

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