Stop The Spread Of Illness At Work [Video]

Illness and infection can be a real headache for employers because germs can spread between staff in close quarters through a simple sneeze, the touch of a hand, or even by using the same equipment.

When contagious illnesses like flu or norovirus strike your business, they can lead to staff absence due to sickness, which reduces the overall productivity of your workforce. With a missing employee or employees, other staff members may have to pick up the slack, so they become overworked and are more susceptible to illness. Alternatively, the company may have to take on temporary staff to cover sickness absence, which could be an unexpected business expense.

So what’s the answer? Encouraging sick employees to return to work too soon can mean they are still contagious so illnesses spread all the more easily, but your business needs the man-power.

That’s why preventative action to reduce the spread of illness is important. Communicate the necessity of simple tasks like handwashing and sanitising through internal communications channels like posters and emails. You could even send employees a link to the video above.

For information about processes and procedures regarding sickness absence, get advice from your occupational health specialist. At OHBM we are more than happy to help you find ways to ensure your business suffers as little as possible from the effects of sickness absence. Just give us a call on 01625 268 609 today.

Is Britain Facing An Epidemic Of Steroid Use?


Anabolic steroid use is a growing issue amongst the UK’s young, image-conscious men, according to a report published in the Telegraph. The newspaper says experts suggest the country could be facing a “health time bomb” from this problem, which is under-represented by official stats.

The long-term use of anabolic steroids has been linked to health issues including depression, heart problems, and cognitive damage. Other side-effects are immediate, including aggression and high blood pressure.

Perhaps even more worrying is the rate of HIV infection due to the use of steroids which are injected into the body. At a 1.5 per cent infection rate, these figures are as high as for injectors of drugs like heroin. So rife is the problem that some gyms are placing needle bins in their changing rooms.

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Once mainly used by professional sportspeople, steroid use has become more prolific in recent years, as young men attempt to build their muscle. The media has been blamed in many respects, as displaying toned bodies, with big muscles, as aspirational images.

The side effects of steroid use can be extremely detrimental to health, and in the work environment. Remember, this is a class C drug and it is prohibited, despite the ease with which it can be acquired.

If you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of an employee or employees who you think may be taking steroids, it is important to get advice from your occupational health specialist. Side effects and poor health related to drug use can lead to issues amongst staff, including aggression in the case of steroid users.

At OHBM we offer an array of services, including a 24 hour ‘Call out’ Drug & Alcohol testing service and fast-track to specialist Drug & Alcohol rehabilitation. Talk to us today for expert information.

Is Stress A Fact Of Life For Public Sector Employees?

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Eighty-five per cent of employees in the public and voluntary think stress is a fact of life, according to the “Clockoff survey”. The research took into account the opinion of more than 3,700 people in the public and voluntary sectors including the police and the NHS, NGOs, social housing and more.

The results of the survey show that 93 per cent of people say they are stressed at work a lot of the time, some of the time, or all of the time. Breaking that down, nine per cent say they are stressed all the time they are at work, and almost every one of these respondents said they work over and above their working hours.

Survey respondents claim to work an extra seven additional hours a week on average and less than a quarter of respondents get a main break of 30 minutes or more every day.

The Clockoff survey found that 46 per cent of people strongly agree they have to work beyond their hours to keep up with their workload, 31 per cent agree and just three per cent strongly disagree.

Respondents reported physical and psychological symptoms of stress as headaches, poor sleep, mental health issues and digestive problems.

Workplace stress and overworked employees appear to go hand in hand according to the survey. Stress in the workplace can lead to an array of problems including workplace absence, which causes a negative effect on productivity, workplace morale and more.

To find out more about how your organisation can tackle workplace stress contact OHBM for occupational health and advice today.

How Much Time Should Employees Spend Sitting?

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New UK research shows employers the recommendations on how long staff should spending sitting down in the workplace. A study by Active Working CIC published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states people should try to spend around two hours a day standing up during working hours.

Data quoted within the research paper suggests that on average office workers spend up to 75 per cent of the day sitting, with more than half of that lasting 30mins or more. This sedentary behaviour is common in a vast array of jobs, with many workers spending their days tied to a computer screen. Even common tasks like getting up to get documents from filing cabinets are being eradicated as employees can do more without having to leave their workstations.

The health impacts of leading a sedentary lifestyle are well-publicised, with the onset of conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease increasing due to lack of movement.

What counts towards the “standing” goal?

Though the experts recommend standing for two hours a day, this doesn’t necessarily mean it all has to occur at once. These periods of standing or walking can include anything from getting up to visit to WC, to taking a walk at lunchtime or even simply getting a drink from the water cooler. Anything that breaks up long stretches of time spent sat in a chair counts towards the goal.

However, two hours of standing is actually only the first step. In fact, the researchers long-term recommendations include a goal of four hours of standing in a working day, or around half of the time employees spend at work.

How to encourage standing at work

Workplaces can encourage periods of standing in the workplace by helping employees to understand the benefits of getting out of the chair. Technology is enabling even phone-based employees to be more mobile with cordless handsets and headsets that allow staff to move around more easily. There are also sit-to-stand desk solutions which enable workers to increase the height of their desk to a standing height while working.

Other businesses may choose to encourage active living with health, wellbeing and exercise groups at breaks or lunchtimes, getting staff on-the-go at available opportunities.

Improving the health and wellbeing of your staff all adds up to happier, healthier, more productive employees who take less time off sick – and that’s just good for business.