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February 19, 2015

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Steve Perkins interview with Health and Safety Week

-1Health and Safety Week interview Steve Perkins, chief executive of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS). Here’s a preview of the interview:

1. This year, Health and Safety Week is promoting occupational health. What are the main challenges that the industry is facing in occupational health?

I think the main challenge is in understanding what sort of health we need to promote. I see health in terms of three overlapping areas:

  • Firstly, there is the clinical side, focused on cure rather than prevention, mainly the province of occupational health nurses and medics.
  • Secondly, we have the preventative side, ie how we stop people getting ill from workplace risks. This isn’t really to do with the clinical disciplines, but rather the science and engineering of occupational hygiene, an area that’s gone under the radar for about a century in the UK. We’ve done a great job on safety, but now the effort needs to be focused on the area of prevention and controlling occupational health risks in the UK.
  • Finally, we have the wellbeing agenda. Interestingly, this is the aspect that’s being embraced by large corporations and has traction in the media. This is a good thing of course, as it puts the responsibility back on individuals for maintaining their own general health. However, the danger associated with wellbeing is that it can be easier to focus on aspects such as healthy eating and exercise programmes at the expense of the control of serious – even deadly – workplace health risks that the employer has  created.

Read the full interview at the Health & Safety Week 2015 website.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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