Occupational safety and health leads Covid recovery

The Director of Professional Services at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has commented on how the occupational safety and health (OSH) profession is leading the way in the recovery from Covid-19.

In a commentary featured in the Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide 2021, Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher spoke of how OSH professionals had found themselves “front and centre of organisations’ recovery from Covid-19,” saying that leadership figures are turning to the profession for guidance to protect their workers and the future of their businesses.

As we slowly move out of the third national lockdown and the roadmap has been laid out to restarting the economy, many employers want to know how they can restart their operations safely, prevent virus transmission on their site and protect remote workers.

Ms. Harwood-Whitcher cautioned that OSH professionals must also “ensure their employers don’t lose sight of non-Covid risks.”

She added: “To achieve this, OSH professionals must be attuned to how their organisation is run and how OSH can enable it to sustain its future and achieve strategic goals. They must be able to adapt quickly as new risks emerge and provide senior leaders with assurance.”

This rise in demand for OSH expert advice will continue well into 2021 and beyond, she predicts.

As a result, IOSH aims to ensure there is a “significant pool of high-calibre people who can respond.”

They are hoping to achieve this through their Student Membership Scheme, their IOSH Mentoring platform and their Future Leaders community. These initiatives all help people at different stages to build their OSH career.

There is high demand for relevant health and safety skills, and IOSH is looking to help meet this demand by moving their main health and safety training products online.

Ms. Harwood-Whitcher says such measures are “why I am confident our profession can continue to deliver, to protect the futures of organisations and those who work for them.”

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 Infection Control, Lone Working, Risk Assessment, Managing Health and Safety, Managing Stress in the Workplace and Understanding Mental Health, among many others.

FRT is also approved to deliver world-renowned IOSH-accredited and certificated training courses such as IOSH Working Safely, IOSH Supervising Safely and IOSH Managing Safely.

They also offer a portfolio of e-learning training courses, including COVID-19 Infection prevention, identification and control.

A trainer from FRT explains: “For too long, health and safety has been considered no more than an administrative burden to employers, but this really highlights how sensible health and safety approaches can really benefit businesses and how they will be instrumental in helping firms build back better after the pandemic.”

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 info@firstresponsetraining.com.

IOSH partners with WHO to protect lives and livelihoods

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has partnered with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide free online learning to help businesses and workers develop their knowledge around Covid-19.

The two organisations have developed a new course which teaches people about preventing transmission of Covid-19 and managing the risks of returning to work and remote working.

They say it has been created with the aim of “protecting lives and livelihoods.”

The free online training can be accessed by anyone across the world on the WHO online learning platform.

The IOSH and WHO first joined forces last year in order to support businesses, workers and safety and health professionals in managing the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

IOSH’s Chief Executive, Bev Messinger, said they were “delighted” to have worked with the WHO to develop the training modules.

She explained: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we work, as well as the way we live.

“Many organisations have opted for remote working, although this has been beneficial for employers and workers, it is something which can create significant risks, not least around mental health.

“Organisations are also planning their recovery and have been doing for some time. This includes how they can allow people back into workplaces in a safe way, ensuring that the risks of Covid-19 transmission are managed. Some organisations, of course, have had to continue operating in workplaces and we have supported them too.”

She said the training modules would “support people in organisatons of all sizes, including small and medium enterprises and start-ups who might otherwise find it challenging to access such training. Across these organisations, they will enhance the way workers are protected and, as a result, protect lives and livelihoods.”

IOSH has created modules on Safer Teleworking and Reopening your workplace safely, while peer reviewing the other training modules.

The Safer teleworking module focuses on issues such as isolation and work-life balance.

The full course includes interactive content and is available on the WHO’s online learning platform.

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 Infection Control, Lone Working, Risk Assessment, Managing Health and Safety, Managing Stress in the Workplace and Understanding Mental Health, among many others.

They also offer a portfolio of e-learning training courses, including COVID-19 Infection prevention, identification and control.

A trainer from FRT explains: “Businesses have lots to consider right now; they must ensure they are keeping people as safe as possible and minimising the risk of transmission of Covid-19, following government guidelines and effectively implementing suitable control measures.

“But they must also think about their employee’s mental health and wellbeing. With the stress and anxiety of the pandemic, the potential isolation of working from home and the strain of national lockdowns, many of their workers may be struggling with low mood, stress, depression or anxiety.

“Health and safety duties for employers are not limited to an employee’s physical health and safety – they also include the responsibility to support their mental health.

“That means it’s not just crucial that employers understand Covid-19, its routes of transmission and how to minimise the risk – as well as other physical safety considerations – they should also understand how they can promote and support positive mental health and wellbeing throughout their organisation.

“A range of training is needed to help foster a truly safe and healthy workforce.”

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 info@firstresponsetraining.com.

IOSH calls for government to invest in workplace health and safety

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling on the government to invest in occupational safety and health (OSH) as it combats the Covid-19 pandemic.

The world’s largest professional health and safety body has submitted proposals to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review which frame OSH as key to battling the pandemic and supporting workers, businesses and the economy.

They want important government functions to be better resourced in order to protect lives and livelihoods. These functions include the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Work and Health Unit and the Department of Health and Social Care.

IOSH has also proposed ramping up public health awareness campaigns.

They believe that a renewed focus and significant investment in workplace health and safety is not just key as an immediate response to the pandemic, but for effective work in the future.

They explain that, when OSH is managed well, work can be more productive and positive for employee health and wellbeing.

As evidence, IOSH have cited key statistics from the HSE that reveal that there were 4 million cases of work-related ill-health in 2018-19, resulting in 23.5 million working days being lost.

The annual loss to the economy of work-related ill-health is estimated to top £22 billion.

The statistics also show:

  • 13,000 people lost their lives from past exposures at work
  • 602,000 people suffered from work-related stress, depression and anxiety
  • 498,000 people suffered from work-related musculoskeletal disorders

The concern for IOSH is that the human and socio-economic impact of Covid-19 will only add to these figures.

Mental health at work is a significant and growing concern which will surely only be deepened by the pandemic and resulting economic recession.

It’s currently estimated that around 300,000 people lose their jobs each year in Britain as a result of long-term mental ill health. But, IOSH argues, when employers take action and implement mental health interventions, evidence indicates that they can expect to see an average return of £4.20 for every £1 spent on improvement action.

Despite this, only around 39% of private sector employees – and only 21% in small enterprises – have access to OSH services.

IOSH therefore suggests that small and medium businesses should be incentivised to offer high quality OSH and mental health at work services.

They have also advised that government trade deals, major investments, forex trading,  and infrastructure projects – such as plans for broadband provision, green technologies and housing programmes – should have effective OSH principles embedded at the design and agreement stage, stating that this will help support productivity and reliable delivery.

They believe these measures will help support workers and employers, as well as economic recovery.

IOSH Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement, Richard Jones, said:

“To help address the current Covid-19 crisis and beyond, we call on the Government and HM Treasury to support the urgent action we have proposed to protect lives and livelihoods and improve workforce health and prosperity.

“We know that good work is good for health and wellbeing and that positive feelings about work have been linked to higher productivity and profitability, as well as customer and worker loyalty, and we’re calling for ongoing health and safety commitment, resourcing and capacity-building.”

First Response Training (FRT) is one of the UK’s largest and leading national training providers.

They deliver a wide and diverse range of training for businesses and organisations across all industry sectors and throughout the UK. Their course range includes training in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, manual handling, mental health, food hygiene, specialist safety, health and social care and more.

Their health and safety training is mapped to UK standards and legislation and follows HSE guidelines. Based on a common sense, proportionate approach to workplace safety, training helps learners to understand the true benefits of creating a health and safe environment at work.

In addition, FRT can also provide accredited training in Mental Health First Aid and also offer a range of other mental health training courses, including Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace, Understanding Mental Health and Anxiety Awareness.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“We believe in creating safer working environments with people who care, and know that when workers feel safe, valued and protected, they are likely to be happier and more productive at work. Companies with a strong health and safety ethos can not only reduce workplace accidents and downtime, but also see better staff retention rates and increased employee satisfaction.”

For more information on any of the training courses that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or e-mail info@firstresponsetraining.com.