IOSH calls for better support for disabled workers

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has called for improved practices and better support to enable disabled workers to work.

IOSH have spoken out after an MP called on the government to do more to ensure that people with disabilities can work from home as part of its bid to tackle labour market shortages.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on labour market activity, Chris Stephens, MP for Glasgow South West, urged the government to incentivise employers to help their workers to work from home.

The move would particularly benefit disabled workers, and the suggestion came after Mr Stephens noted a fall in disability employment post-pandemic.

Call for fair work policies to benefit disabled workers

We need fair work policies to benefit disabled workersSpeaking in the House of Commons on 28th February 2023, Mr Stephens said: “Disability employment increased during the pandemic, but it now seems to be reducing. I think that one of the reasons is that during the pandemic people were able to utilise technology to work from home.

“As we have eased out of the pandemic, we have seen a massive move to force people back into offices, factories and all those places.

“When the Government look at disability employment, I would like them to incentivise employers to help workers work from home, because that would certainly help and be of benefit to those with disabilities. That comes up time and again when the Work and Pensions Committee looks at those issues, and I hope that Ministers will look seriously at it.”

He also added:

“We need to look at how to be a fair work nation with fair work policies, so that people will be attracted back into the workplace.”

OSH professionals can enhance workplaces to support disabled workers

OSH professionals can support employers and disabled workersPeople with disabilities make up around 15% of the world’s population, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and an estimated 80% are of working age. Improved and more flexible practices would help ensure they are not lost from the workforce.

Now, the world’s largest professional health and safety body has added their voice to the appeals to government.

IOSH formed part of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) working group that addressed guidance for employers’ duties in protecting disabled people at work. They believe that occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals can help employers to see a real return on their investment in disabled workers.

OSH professionals can help to enhance workplaces and support employers’ efforts to employ, retain and accommodate more people with disabilities. They can also recommend workplace assessments and adjustments to help workers remain safe at work and ensure they can return to work effectively.

Good work opportunities will improve wellbeing of disabled workers

Meaningful work can improve disabled workers health and wellbeingIOSH’s Head of Policy, Ruth Wilkinson, explained:

“Employers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all their employees, including those with disabilities, and health and safety can be an enabler that supports disabled workers to work.

“Good work is good for people’s health and wellbeing; that’s work that’s safe, supportive and accommodates people’s needs. There isn’t only one way to achieve this, but IOSH advocates creating human-centred, worker-friendly work environments.

“By supporting and enabling people with long-term health conditions and disabilities to work from home, employers can help them fulfil their potential, which has major benefits for the bottom-line, bringing higher productivity and profitability.”

Ruth advised that employers should speak to their staff, adding:

“If tailored to workers’ needs and abilities, a supportive, human-centred work and environment, whether it be in a shared workspace or at home, will support those with both physical and mental health conditions or disability to give of their best.

“So, we believe the government should accommodate and support employees’ needs and incentivise employers to remove barriers to work because, in turn, this will help disabled workers reach their economic and social potential. In the current world of work, organisations cannot be sustainable without protecting the safety, health and wellbeing of the most vital resource they have; their workers.”

Equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Equality, diversity and inclusion is vital for disabled workersFirst Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider.

They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards in Equality and Diversity, Disability Equality Awareness, Health and Safety and Managing and Supervising Risk.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“Employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their workers. This doesn’t just extend to their physical health and safety while at work, but also their mental health and wellbeing.

“If adopting better support, flexible policies and improved practices can help ensure all their employees experience improved wellbeing, these are important steps to take and will help employers fulfil their statutory duty as well as improve staff retention rates and productivity.

“In addition, we must also remember that its vital that we create workplaces where equality, diversity and inclusion is championed and everyone has equal opportunity to succeed. This makes good business sense, as well as being the right thing to do on a human level.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

Fully inclusive workplaces ‘crucial’ to business success, says IOSH

As Pride Month comes to an end, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has spoken about how fully inclusive workplaces are “crucial to the success of organisations.”

The world’s largest occupational health and safety body have said they believe that making sure that all employees feel safe at work is key to creating fully inclusive workplaces.

In order to ensure that all employees within their own organisation feel psychologically, physically and emotionally safe, IOSH have recently created the new role of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager.

They say this new position will help them to better understand how good occupational safety and health (OSH) can contribute to making the world a more inclusive place where everyone feels safe and able to be themselves at work.

IOSH employ nearly 200 people and have outlined further measures they have in place to ensure inclusivity within their organisation, such as:

  • Ensuring that factors such as age, gender, race, medical conditions, disabilities, sexual orientation and other areas are included within their health, safety and wellbeing strategy, their business rules (here’s a great place to get started on framing the right rules for the firm) and their risk assessments;
  • Supporting inclusivity and diversity within health and safety, including addressing both the age and gender bias in the profession by proactively promoting professional development opportunities to everyone who identifies as a woman and young people;
  • Developing specific information and support for staff experiencing the menopause;
  • Having strong, management-led support mechanisms which go further than having mental health first aiders in place and an employee assistance programme. IOSH provide staff with mental health training, wellbeing sessions and promotion of women in leadership;
  • Ensuring they have the flexibility to conduct individual risk assessments and personal evacuation plans for colleagues with disabilities or mental and physical wellbeing issues.

IOSH are also planning to install a gender-neutral toilet in preparation for the return of staff and visitors at their head office following the eventual lifting of lockdown restrictions.

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards in Equality and Diversity, Understanding Mental Health and Adult Mental Health First Aid.

A trainer from FRT explains: “All employees deserve to feel safe at work. This extends beyond their physical health and safety to their mental and emotional wellbeing and being able to feel comfortable, secure and valued.

“All businesses should provide Equality and Diversity training for staff members, particularly those in senior positions and those with responsibility for hiring new employees.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

Skills for Care investigates key issues affecting BAME workers

A recent survey from Skills for Care has found that adult social care workers from black, Aisan and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds face significant challenges with racism, progression, representation and health.

People from BAME backgrounds account for 1 in 5 of the adult social care workforce in England, but despite playing a crucial role in the care and support of people in our communities, they often encounter racism, discrimination and barriers to progression in the workplace.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also served to highlight and exacerbate existing inequalities within the workforce and wider society, and the survey aimed to capture how it has impacted on BAME workers in adult social care.

People from BAME backgrounds – whether providing or receiving care – have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They are more likely to contract Covid-19, are more likely to die as a result, and those in the workforce are more likely to report a lack of access to PPE and unfair treatment.

Skills for Care wanted to clarify the key issues and concerns affecting the sector, so they surveyed BAME leaders and managers across the adult social care workforce about the challenges they faced as a result of the pandemic.

Over 500 social care workers responded, and Skills for Care have revealed that these respondents spoke up about racism, inequality, progression, representation and health.

Three main challenges

Researchers found that 3 main themes came up when asking about the top challenges facing BAME staff in adult social care: racism; progression and representation, and; health issues.

Respondents cited institutional and systemic racism from and within organisations, management and peers and service users as a major challenge.

Workers from BAME backgrounds often felt that they did not have a voice within the organisations they worked for, and they frequently experienced discrimination and inequalities.

BAME staff also reported barriers that prevented them from progressing in the adult social care workforce, particularly into leadership and management positions. They experienced a lack of training and development opportunities and found that people from BAME backgrounds were not represented at senior levels.

There were also anxieties about the increased risks for BAME staff in relation to Covid-19, with respondents often reporting that they did not feel sufficiently protected at work.

Experiences of racism and anxiety about Covid-19 had also contributed to mental health concerns for workers from BAME backgrounds.

Respondents also cited issues regarding pay gaps, lack of confidence, lack of understanding and support and challenges around acceptance, recognition, respect and being valued.

Supporting BAME workers

Skills for Care asked respondents what they could do to better support adult social care workers from BAME backgrounds, and were told they needed to provide more training.

Covid is magnifying inequalitiesThis ranged from training for managers on the health risks posed by Covid-19 to training for BAME workers in topics such as leadership, resilience, assertiveness and dealing with racism, and training for all workers across social care on subjects such as cultural awareness, diversity unconscious bias and practising anti-racism.

Respondents also wanted greater inclusion; they asked Skills for Care to collaborate more with BAME communities in designing their approach, and to make their resources more accessible.

They also said that people from BAME backgrounds could be given a stronger voice at Skills for Care, with greater representation and more opportunities for discussion and engagement.

In terms of wider support to help them progress, respondents said that steps such as mentoring schemes, networking programmes and greater support for their health and wellbeing would help them reach their potential.

Promoting equality

They survey responses also showed that people wanted Skills for Care to undertake an advocacy role, promoting equality and fair pay across the sector.

Skills for Care also asked respondents about relevant topics they could cover in future webinars about inequalities within the BAME workforce.

Their areas of interest included racism, particularly institutional and systemic racism and how to overcome it, organisational policy and practice, equality and inequality, including pay and discrimination, progression and representation, and Black Lives Matter.

Taking action

Skills for Care are now investigating some of the areas of support raised in the survey.

They are organising a series of webinars starting this month to explore some of the issues raised by respondents and are developing a suite of guidance based on the three main challenges identified in the survey.

They’ve also highlighted some of their current resources, such as ‘Confident with difference’, which, they say will “allow you and your team to consider how well you currently embrace diversity and improvements that could be made.”

The workforce development charity will also work with a BAME focus group of 20 individuals to produce guidance and support for career progression.

They are also “exploring how we can embed what we learned across the organisation so that all aspects of our offer include and reflect the BAME community and diverse workforce. We will continue to engage with the sector to better understand support needs and this will be an ongoing dialogue.”

They’ve created a dedicated page on their website to provide a platform for voices from the diverse social care workforce and will continue to commission blogs and articles from BAME authors.

Training in equality, diversity and inclusion

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

A trainer from FRT says: “It is important for all organisations and businesses across all sectors to explore what they can do to challenge and remove inequalities and to promote equality, inclusion and diversity.

“We provide training in Equality and Diversity, and undergo it ourselves. We work to ensure that training is inclusive, representative and accessible to all.

“It’s great to see that Skills for Care have taken the time to do this research and that they are putting their findings into action.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to