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October 19, 2015

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Occupational health – a capital campaign

Over the past year the occupational health leads from many of London’s safety critical industries have met every month to develop a weeklong campaign dedicated to raising the profile and visibility of workers’ health and wellbeing. Karl Simons outlines the campaign, which starts today.

“What’s happening here is truly amazing,” says Karl Simons, chair of the occupational health leads.

“Group members have each run numerous initiatives demonstrating their commitment to health over the years, but to see so many large organisations from different industry sectors coming together with a collective goal of pushing health and wellbeing across London is remarkable,” he explains.

“Every month, throughout this year, the occupational health leads have dedicated their time to support each other in developing a campaign that they and others can use.”

As Simons explains, the launch of the first London Health & Wellbeing Week running between 19-23 October 2015 is supported by many major client and contractor organisations, including Thames Water, Transport for London, UK Power Networks, Metropolitan Police, Crossrail, London Fire Brigade, Battersea, HS2, Skanska, Costain, Ferovial, Arup and more.

An abundance of literature has been developed to support all of the organisations involved. “Our approach from the outset has been to create a set of high level principles underpinned by literature that is flexible enough that it can be tailored to suit each organisation’s own focus areas,” he continues.

“The week will centre on a strategy of worker, workplace, wellbeing and wider community (the 4 Ws). Each theme will feature through all the presentations and supporting literature developed for use by the organisations involved. We wanted to encourage workers to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing through promoting sustainable healthier lifestyle choices”.

To get everyone engaged in the week, numerous topics have been developed and shared by all of the participants, including:

* An executive team health challenge – aimed at the senior managers within each organisation taking on a series of lifestyle challenges based around both wellbeing topics such as nutrition, exercise, sleep and occupational topics such as noise, dust, vibration and musculoskeletal disorders.

* Choice newsletter – a professional newsletter wrapping up the intent of the week, which can be used by the organisations to send the message throughout their business of the campaign.

* A ‘Health Maturity Model’, which has a visible set of health performance indicators, that can be shared with all supply chain partners enabling them to understand their position regards health and wellbeing governance and enable the development of objectives in line with clear expectations.

* A ‘halt for health’ stand-down – aimed at ensuring managers across all sites take time to engage with employees during the week, a presentation containing statistics and concerns and promoting team engagement and spirit towards living a healthier lifestyle at work and home.

* Personal medical assessments – some of the organisations are taking the opportunity to use the week as a catalyst for initiating a programme of confidential personal medical appointments for their employees, which will include a face-to-face consultation with an occupational health specialist.

* Resilience training – with the increase in profile of mental health concerns across industry, many organisations are introducing resilience programmes for managers and employees, to raise awareness and drive up the critical conversations required to tackle this important topic.

* Supporting literature – informative posters, games and team activities have been developed for use by all throughout the week.

“We will be speaking alongside the Mayor Boris Johnson and NHS chief executive Simon Stevens at a conference being held during the week, which will be attended by over 200 public and private sector business leaders,” explains Simons.

“We also wanted to leave a legacy so other organisations can view all the literature developed and used for the week campaign. For this reason, IOSH supported us with developing a website (see below) that was launched for the week enabling worldwide viewing going forward. This can be viewed on a new site created to share best practice and promote shared-learning”.

So what’s next for the occupational health and wellbeing leads group?

“I am sure this year is the first of many within London and I have certainly enjoyed working with the occupational health leads involved in shaping this campaign,” he concludes.

“Watching the sharing unfold has been a great success and I know I have learnt a lot from listening to the discussions each month we have met. There are lots of ways to continue increasing the profile of health and wellbeing such as connecting with other capital cities across the UK or globally. Of course, with IOSH in our corner and at the table we already have a great organisation that can make those vital connections to enable this initiative to spread and grow.”

For more information:

Karl Simons is chair of the London health and wellbeing leads group



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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Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
8 years ago

Ummm, like, you know, no mention of the ‘Elephant in the room’, Screen Fatigue or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) that continues unmitigated to debilitate 58% plus of DSE user operators over the last 25 years, other than, the physical end result or simple consequences of over-exposure to the standard “sub-optimally calibrated display screen interface” manifesting in a range of allegedly “temporary” yet permanent performance and productivity sapping symptoms before the individual presents WULD’s and, over time, the more serious longer lasting, mental and physical harm presenting in clinical conditions, directly associated stress fatigue and “adaptation exhaustion”. Makes one wonder how… Read more »