Contracts, Conferences and High-Calibre Staff: An Update From OHBM

OHBM - Creating a healthier workforce

2015 may just be a few months in, but we’re already in full swing at OHBM and expecting a busy and productive year.

Only two months into the year and we have already welcomed another two new contracts, and there are more in the pipeline for the next month or so. On top of this, we gain a regular supply of work from employment law solicitors who use OHBM as a trusted provider in the occupational health field.

If you’re looking for an occupational health specialist to help within your business, whatever your sector, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.

NEC Health and Wellbeing Conference

On the 3rd and 4th of March, we were pleased to attend the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference at the NEC.

Attending conferences and events like this is vital for our sector as it enables us to listen to informative lectures and stay abreast of the latest developments in occupational health, which is beneficial for our clients moving forward.

Work with OHBM

At OHBM we work with a network of qualified occupational health specialists who are located across the country. We are always on the look out for high calibre, qualified staff who share our passion for the health and wellbeing of work-aged people.

If you are a doctor or nurse with specialist qualifications in occupational health, and you feel you can meet and exceed our unwavering high standards, please do get in touch with us.

Thank you to both existing and potential clients for taking the time to read this blog. We wish you all the best for your business as we move into spring 2015.

Do People With Mental Illness Need More Support at Work?

Mental illness

Just 5.7 per cent of people in England who suffer from a severe mental illness are in employment, according to statistics. However, it has been proven time and again that work is conducive to good mental health, with aspects such as company and a feeling of purposefulness essential for wellbeing.

However, in some areas in the UK, less than one per cent of people who are currently in contact with secondary mental health services is working, with the national average across England a poor 5.7 per cent.

Severe mental health issues may sound like a small number of people, so not worth your worry as a company, but consider the fact that one in every 100 people across the nation will be diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This is not a problem you are extremely unlikely to face as an employer.

Rethink is one charity currently looking at tackling stigma, matching patients with jobs they can do, and persuading employers to look at people with mental illness.

Mental health and employment

Across the board, the consensus is that more needs to be done to help people with mental health problems stay in work. Recent surveys show that 75 per cent of people with mental health issues got no treatment at all, yet around 70 million working days were lost due to mental illness. This cost the economy somewhere in the region of £70 to £100 billion. The question has to be asked; couldn’t we be doing more to support these people, who are in fact vital members of the workforce?

Sixty to seventy per cent of those suffering from common mental illnesses are in work – but lack of effective treatment can increase the level of sickness absence and reduce productivity levels. Some of the issue still lies in the stigma of mental illness. According to a Friends Life Survey last year, nearly half of employees had experienced mental health issues but chose not to tell their employer for fear of how it would impact their career prospects.

The statistics show that addressing employee mental health and the stigma associated with this should be something businesses are thinking about. By paying greater attention to the mental wellbeing of their workforce, employers can unleash the benefits of a healthier, happy, more productive workforce.

If you’re looking at ways to improve the overall mental health of your workforce, occupational health management is the logical first step. Speak to the team at OHBM to find out how we can help your organisation address mental health issues.

What Are Employers’ Responsibilities At The Work Christmas Party?

Christmas party

The office Christmas party is something most employers and employees look forward to, and with good reason, after all they are normally great fun, a chance for team bonding and more often than not improve staff morale. However without the correct forward planning, what should be a memorable and festive event could well turn out to be a complete disaster.

The reason for this is that there are laws and legislations that require employers to be responsible for their employees when on a work do, even if it is outside of normal working hours. Under these legislations, employers should be aware those they:

• Can be held liable for harm (under health and safety laws) or harassment caused to or by their employees, or for negligent acts of their employees.
• Have a responsibility for their staff’s actions, even outside normal working hours or outside of the normal working environment. Any social event organised by the employer is an ‘extension’ of the workplace – regardless of the place or time of the event
• Could fall foul of religious and possibly sexual discrimination laws. Since October 2010 the Equality Act continues to give protection from sexual harassment but now also gives protection to harassment on the basis of disability, age, gender reassignment, race/religion or belief and sexual orientation.

Drinking too much alcohol

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that alcohol is a big factor in Christmas party-related problems. There are some simple things you can do to try and prevent inappropriate behaviour at your Christmas party.

• If you are having a free bar, limit it so people don’t take advantage and have too much to drink – this lowers the risk of fights, accidents and harassment incidents.
• Try and find one or two staff who agree to stay sober, so that they can look out for any unwanted behaviours.
• Ensure that there are non-alcoholic options available
• Consider the needs of all attendees – Will workers be able to arrange childcare at the time of the party? Are there food requirements to meet all cultural needs? Have you taken into account physical support for any disabled staff? How will everyone get home?
• Tell staff what is expected of them and remind them of the disciplinary action should inappropriate be an issue.
• Inform all staff if they are expected in work, on time, the next day!

Christmas should be a happy time, so ensure your festivities allow it to stay that way.

Employees Worry About Declaring Mental Health Problems At Work

Nearly half of employees experience mental health conditions but choose not to tell their employer according to a Friends Life survey.

Two thousand participants from across a variety of industries were surveyed, with 40% stating that they had experienced conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. However they chose not to disclose the information due to concerns that it might impact upon their career prospects.

An “excessive workload” was the most common cause of stress, followed by “frustration with poor management and working hours” and notably, it was younger workers who are feeling the strain more than the older generation. Nearly two thirds of 18 to 24-year-olds said that they had been stressed, anxious or depressed within the last year, with the rate of incident decreasing gradually among older age groups.

Employees worrying about the impact of telling an employer about their mental health is understandable but it is important to know that a person may have legal protection if they are suffering mental health conditions at their workplace.

Under the Equality Act 2010 a mental illness can be classified as a disability if a person has a physical or mental impairment, and if the impairment has a substantial and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Conditions are deemed to be long term if they last for 12 months or longer.

In the event of a disability, employers are required to take reasonable action in order to support their work force. For example, changing shift patterns, working hours or adjusting other factors such as long distance travelling and computer usage can be implemented in order to support employees experiencing problems. If an employer is unreasonable or dismisses a person on the grounds of disability, then they could leave themselves open to a disability discrimination claim or unfair dismissal.

It is important that workers tell their employer if they are experiencing a mental health problem, as it will enable the opportunity for support and adjustments to be provided. In the long run this will increase productivity and lead to a happier, healthier workforce.

A Professional Occupational Health Advisor For Manchester Businesses

If you’re concerned about the wellbeing of your staff but not sure how to implement an occupational health plan, rest assured at OHBM we offer a straightforward approach. Our occupational health advisors operate in the Manchester area and beyond, helping boost the productivity of your workforce.

It’s quite simple really, poor health and wellbeing amongst the workforce leads to staff that lack the motivation to do the job properly. They will have a lower level of output than happy, healthy staff and take more time off sick. Health problems like stress can cause severe issues in your business, and mental problems can lead to unhealthy practices such as binge drinking and overeating. Altogether, this can have a severe implications on your business’ bottom line.

At OHBM we make it our mission to help you tackle this problem. Our occupational health advisors have been operating in the field for many years, providing an expert approach to improving employee health and wellbeing.

We offer a variety of services, including:

  • Clear advice about how your business can work within government guidelines to improve employee health.
  • Ad-hoc information for senior management within office hours – just give us a call.
  • Stress management, sickness absence management, drug and alcohol screening and more.

Start the ball rolling today with a complimentary review of your workplace. Get in touch with an OBHM occupational health advisor here.

OHBM: A Trusted Occupational Health Service In Manchester

At OHBM we understand that as a company your staff are your most important asset. That’s why it just makes sense to take good care of them and their health and wellbeing. We help business and other organisations in the Greater Manchester area to boost the health and wellbeing of their employees, largely by focusing on prevention rather than cure.

Healthy, valued employees are proven to achieve more and show a greater level of loyalty to your business – plus, they are easier to manage than those who feel taken advantage of or uncared for by your organisation. This all affects your bottom line.

A US study found that factors as common as being overweight can have a detrimental affect on your workforce. On average a normal-weight man will miss an average of 3 days a year due to illness or injury, while an overweight or obese man will miss around 5 days. Absences increase as employees gain more weight.

Another survey found that “77% of employees stated “health and wellness programs positively impact the culture at work.”

When employees are healthy and cared for, they are more motivated in the work environment and less likely to take time off due to physical and mental health issues.

If you’re currently considering whether you can afford to invest in occupational health services, we would ask you to consider whether you can afford not to. The cost savings through a positive attitude to workforce health can be extremely great.

For further information about how OHBM has helped businesses large and small, in the Manchester area and beyond, take a look at our testimonials. Or contact OHBM directly to discuss how we can help promote health and productivity within your workforce.

Higher Risk Of Diabetes For Shift Workers, Study Shows

Recent research suggests that shift workers carry a nine per cent higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Males and those with rotating shift patterns were found to be most at risk. A report published in The Guardian suggests those in the emergency services could be at an increased risk due to the shift work they undertake.

The research involved examining data from 12 studies, which involved results from over 225,000 individuals. Around 15,000 of those included in the survey were living with diabetes.

Shift work appears to be linked to weight gain and an increased appetite, which are both considered risk factors for the development of diabetes.

Men who worked shifts were most at risk, at around 37 per cent more likely to develop the condition. On top of that, those working rotating shift patterns and regularly seeing different hours of the day or night were 42 per cent more likely than those working specific fixed shifts.

While this is the first study that has looked at diabetes, previously shift working has been linked to a number of different illnesses and diseases, including cancer, heart issues, and digestive problems.

In the UK there are thought to be around 850,000 people living with diabetes that has not been diagnosed. 2.9 million people in this country alone have diabetes – 90 per cent of which is type 2.

The best way to reduce the risk of diabetes is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

Occupational health can help businesses introduce measures and policies that keep employees healthier and more productive, with less days off sick through illness.


Stress Management And Wellbeing In The Workplace [Video]

One in five employees has taken time off work because of stress. Workplace pressures, long working hours, dealing with difficult clients, differences of opinion, feeling undervalued and large workloads all contribute to staff feeling stressed and unhappy. This can take its toll on both physical and mental health.

Unhealthy, unhappy team members tend to take more time off than employees who feel valued in the workplace. The impact of absentee staff has a huge impact on the workforce, who have to pick up the slack, as well as on your bottom line.

Happy, healthy employees are more productive and take less time off work. At Occupational Health Business Management we can help you to achieve this within your workforce with our stress management service. It helps you get the best from your employees, and ensures you are working within HSE guidelines, which expect you to undertake suitable risk assessments to identify potential areas of stress at work.

At OHBM we’ll work closely with your business, using audit tools to expertly identify issues. We have the ability to refer “at risk” team members at short notice to our team of psychologists for stress management, assessment and treatment programs.

Talk to OHBM about your requirements as a business, or any concerns you might have.

What’s Your Approach To Occupational Health?

Your occupational health strategy is intrinsic to the success of your business.

Healthy, happy, valued employees are more productive and take less days off sick. All of this helps you boost your bottom line, making your business more successful.

If you’re considering implementing an occupational health scheme at your workplace but don’t know where to start, speak to the team at OHBM. We’ve many years’ experience in the field, helping businesses both large and small in public and private sectors.

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact us for a free review of your business and a full report on the same day.

Sun Protection Information For Employers

outdoor workers

We all welcome a little sunshine as spring and summer roll around, and this can make the job much more pleasant for outdoor workers. But as an employer you have the responsibility for the health of those employees who work outside most of the day, and the risks associated with hot, sunny weather.

If you’re a manager or an employer of people who work outside, you might find the following information helpful.

Risks of working in hot and sunny conditions

The sun’s UV rays can cause skin damage, including sun burn, ageing and skin cancer. This should be considered a hazard for people working outside. Heat can cause dehydration, so drink plenty of water.

Tips for employers

Make sure you pass on information about working outside in your routine health and safety training, informing employees that a tan is not healthy.

Encourage outdoor workers to regularly check their skin for strange spots and moles changing colour or size, and to seek medical advice if there is any concern.

Educate employees about the importance of staying hydrated and seeking areas of shade during their breaks. Situate break areas and water points in locations of shade.

Encourage workers to stay covered up, using hats and long sleeved tops, and regularly apply sunscreen.

The benefits

By ensuring your workforce is well equipped to deal with hot and sunny conditions and educated about the risks involved, you reduce the amount of employee health problems and sick days. Find further information within the HSE’s sun protection leaflet or speak to the team at OHBM.