In light of a recent report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which stated that 1.3 million people are suffering from a new or long-standing health issue that was related to their work, we thought that it would be useful to share some tips on how to reduce ill health in the workplace as part of our campaign to recognise European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2018.
1. Think about physical health
We all know that taking care of our physical health is a sure-fire way of ensuring greater quality of life all round, but how many of us act on this knowledge? By making simple adaptations to our working days, such as conducting walking meetings and introducing step-counting competitions, the benefits of a fitter and stronger workforce will soon be seen through less absences related to ill health and quicker recovery times for those that are unwell.
2. Don’t forget about mental health
The Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study on stress revealed that in the past year, 74% of 4,619 respondents have felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Mental health can have a significant impact on quality of work and colleague relationships, so it is important to create an open and trustworthy environment within the workplace to try and combat this.
In addition, providing staff with mental health awareness education and training is vitally important. This will help to ensure people have a firm understanding of issues that they may be experiencing and how they can access any support that they may need; this is another simple way to help tackle mental health issues in the workplace.
3. Maintain a good work-life balance
It’s easy to let career responsibilities take over your personal life, particularly when there are tight deadlines to hit, but it’s important to remember that occasional time-out from work is important.
Research by the European Heart Journal found that people who worked three or more hours longer than the usual seven-hour day, had a 60% higher risk of heart-related health problems such as death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and angina. These shocking statistics put into perspective how worthwhile it is to get away from the desk at lunchtime to catch up with friends or make plans after work to avoid the temptation of staying late.
In the long term, learning to manage the work-life balance will help to reduce the risks that overworking can have on both mental and physical health and, in turn, help people to become more engaged and productive in their roles.
4. Stay hydrated and eat healthily
Eating snacks high in sugar to combat lethargy will inevitably lead to a crash in both mood and energy levels. Last year, University College London researchers looked at the relationship between sugar and mental health and the results were incredibly surprising.
They found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar per day (less than two cans of Coke) were 23% more likely to suffer a common mental health disorder. We have already explored the way in which poor mental health can affect individuals in the workplace, so what can be done to further combat this?
Bringing in pre-prepared lunch and snacks to avoid office and canteen treats, drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay fuller for longer and making sure you eat a filling and nutritious breakfast to start your day right are simple lifestyle swaps that individuals can make to start the process of creating and sticking to healthier habits.
5. Manage your workplace risks
One crucial way to reduce the causes of ill health in the workplace is to monitor and maintain workplace risks as part of your COSHH management strategy. Conducting regular workplace monitoring ensures that your workforce is safeguarded against occupational injury and occupational health diseases that could have a lasting and significant impact on short-term and long-term health.
Alcumus Sypol’s workplace monitoring services cover a wide-range of requirements including air quality monitoring, LEV testing, hand arm vibration and whole-body monitoring, and noise monitoring to name a few. With the HSE reporting that there are 13,000 deaths every year estimated to have been caused by exposure to substances or processes at work, it is clear that steps need to be taken by all businesses to ensure that every individual will go home healthy at the end of each day.
Find out how we can help to reduce ill health in your workplace by calling us on 01296 678 484 or, alternatively, email [email protected].