Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace Conference

Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace Conference

Thursday 23 April 2020

Danubius Hotel Regents Park, London, NW8 7JT

9am – 5pm

Supporting employees mental health, through traditional and alternative strategies, ought to be a priority for UK employers.

Untackled, poor workplace mental health can lead to reduced work quality, low motivation, and conflict between employees. The current challenging recruitment and retention climate mean employee wellbeing is a key to successful businesses.

This crucial conference, hosted by Business Forums International, will show employers potential stress and mental health triggers and how to be proactive in talking to employees; early symptom recognition can ensure effective support strategies are put in place early.

Smart employers are making sure they know about and understand the latest alternative strategies for support, diagnosis and treatment. Make sure you’re among them.

This important day will cover:

  • Quantifying the potential cost to your business of not engaging in a complete mental health strategy: financial, reputational and moral
  • Recognising and understanding common symptoms and the range of treatment options that successful companies are employing
  • Developing and implementing a robust mental health policy that will reduce absences and tackle the stigma of mental illness
  • Get to grips with your legal obligations including dismissal, discrimination, absence and mental capacity
  • Hear from leading organisations what works in their own companies


Hear from strategic case studies and get the latest legal advice with session from:

Deloitte, Shoosmiths, Acas, Strategic Wellbeing, Environment Agency, BT and Lendlease

Endorsed by:

The Council for Work and Health; SOM (The Society of Occupational Medicine); Mindful Employer



SAVE £100 with the Council for Work and Health member discount code –CWH100

01983 861133

Launch of the Healthy Ageing Consensus Statement

Last week saw the launch of the Healthy Ageing consensus statement, produced by Public Health England and The Centre for Ageing Better. The Council for Work and Health fully supports the vision of the consensus statement; for England to be the best place in the world to grow older. Good work can provide people with a sense of purpose, belonging and self-respect as well as the known health and financial benefits that work gives. However, it’s becoming more important than ever to recognise that older people are not only choosing to work for longer because they can but also because they have to for financial means. And with this, we are seeing a profound shift in our workforce demographic.

Older workers bring a broad range of skills and experience, loyalty, stability and reliability to the workplace and this is becoming important for employers as we see skills shortages in specialised roles across all industry sectors. Employers need to have good, proactive age management practices in place to meet the needs of all staff as their workforce ages.

We must have a realistic perspective with our ageing workforce and understand the physical and mental changes with come with the ageing. An understanding that we are living longer with long-term health conditions and advances in medical care enable us to continue to work whilst managing these health conditions and living our lives well. What is of vital importance is how we can raise awareness for employers, employees and healthcare practitioners on how work can be adapted to support people to stay in work for longer and still be well. There are many ways to do this not least looking at how others approach it, such as the good practice seen in employers such as BMW and B&Q, considering flexible working opportunities, adapting business strategies where they take advantage of older people’s rich experience, giving them mentoring and consultative projects.  It may also be about providing access to additional training or coaching to support career moves later in life.

Proactive support, in the form of access to wellbeing initiatives and early interventions such as access to occupational health, physiotherapy and psychological therapies, have been proven to be very effective and supportive to both the older employee and the business. Employers who take a solution focussed approach to a diverse and multi-generational workforce have benefitted in terms of productivity and retention of experience.

For individuals as well, it is important they consider the fact that they may need to work differently or in a different capacity in the later stages of their career. There are many ways to do this and employers and local organisations can provide guidance and support to help individuals consider and plan for this.

It is important to remember that age is a protective characteristic of the Equality Act and employers have the same responsibilities for health and safety of older employees as they do for all their employees.

We urge employers and society to remove the stereotype of older people and their ability to contribute to the workforce, it does not reflect the older worker to in today’s society and we are simply not oldat 60 anymore. All workers should be treated individually as any changes in health are very different in each person. Adapting work practices based on individual needs is very important and assessing it on a case by case means and not making assumptions based on out of date stereotypes.

The Council for Work and Health welcomes the opportunity this consensus brings to focus on promoting good health and good work to benefit of both older employees and the businesses they work for.  Find out more about the consensus statement and its five pillars here .

We urge as many employers and organisations as possible to sign up to the consensus statement and raise awareness about positive approaches to successful ageing workforce policies.



Lung disease in the construction industry – the role of occupational hygiene in prevention

Lung disease in the construction industry

– the role of occupational hygiene in prevention.

By Chris Keen, Policy and Technical Committee, BOHS

The burden of respiratory disease in construction

Exposure to airborne dust is often considered to be an unavoidable part of working in the construction industry, and historically there has been a view in some parts of the industry that ‘it’s just dust’ and doesn’t represent a serious health risk. In reality, the facts are very different. Construction dusts contain a mixture of individual contaminants, and often these have the potential to do serious, irreversible harm if exposures are not properly controlled. And because of the long latency of most lung diseases associated with these exposures, the true impact is often not fully appreciated. This is compounded by the transient exposure patterns typically found in construction. The provision of long term health surveillance is notoriously difficult in this industry, and many cases of ill health go un-reported and remain hidden. The true burden of respiratory disease in construction workers isn’t accurately known, but estimates are that several hundred people die each year as a result of historic exposures to respirable crystalline silica. The issue is so big as to be the subject of a recent public inquiry, co-ordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Respiratory Health.

The role of Occupational Hygiene and the Breathe Freely Campaign

As these facts have become more apparent, the construction industry have responded and much has been done in the past few years to drive improvements in the industry. Key to providing solutions is the implementation of good practice to prevent, or at least control, the exposures which cause respiratory disease. The recognition, evaluation and control of harmful workplace exposures is the bedrock of the occupational hygiene profession.In 2015 the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), the chartered society for worker health protection, launched theBreathe Freely in Construction campaign. Historically, interaction between the occupational hygiene profession and the construction industry has not been commonplace, which may go some way to explaining the disease burden associated with construction. The Breathe Freely campaign aimed clearly to address this, and to provide the construction industry with effective support to drive down the dust exposures which are at the root of occupational lung disease.

The basis of occupational hygiene is the hierarchy of control. This recognises that all risk control measures are not equal, and that some are far more reliable than others. Clearly, the elimination of a hazard entirely, or if that is not possible, the control of emissions at source, provides a far more robust control approach than a reliance on personal protective equipment. But we still see, all too often, dust masks being used as the only control against dusts which are known to cause cancer and other life changing diseases. Through Breathe Freely, we have worked with stakeholders including the Health in Construction Leadership Group, the Construction Dust Partnership, the Healthy Lungs Partnership and more to produce a suite of materials providing guidance on effective dust control across a wide range of construction tasks. We have created training materials which allow the upskilling of site supervisors to allow a better understanding of respiratory risks and the associated need to control exposures.  And through a series of roadshows, we have reached well over a thousand construction industry stakeholders directly, to spread our messages. 117 high profile business operating in the UK construction sector have signed up as campaign supporters.

There is no doubt that the Breathe Freely campaign is part of a sea change in controlling respiratory disease risks in construction. Major construction clients, and large principal contractors are now giving this topic much more attention. The application of exposure controls, other than the ubiquitous dust mask, is now the norm on larger construction projects. Dust exposures are reducing and the future burden of lung disease should follow on from this as a natural progression.

However, there is still much to do. The overriding number of businesses operating in the construction industry are SMEs. The level of risk awareness, and the accompanying standards of exposure control, still have a long way to go within this sector of the industry. As our campaign moves forward, we will provide a greater focus on reaching these businesses, with specific targeting on the construction trades known to be at highest risk of dust exposures.  We are always looking for new campaign supporters, and we would especially welcome interest from stakeholders operating in, or interacting with, construction SMEs. You can find out more by visiting our website.




Top tips for workplace health – Duality Health

Top Tips for Workplace Health

Good health is good business but where do you start? Whether you are starting a new business or looking for ways to boost the health of your staff, here are some top tips.

Encourage healthy eating

Although it’s easy to tuck into comfort food for lunch, or have endless coffee and chocolate at our desks to boost energy, this can lead to health problems such as putting on weight (which can impact your cholesterol levels) feeling sluggish, and not getting enough vitamins and minerals from your diet.

For large workplaces, promote a healthy diet by having a subsidised canteen in the workplace that serves diverse, nutritious and colourful meals during breakfast and lunch. This could include vibrant salad bars, home-cooked main meals and freshly made smoothies, ideal for those who, after a long commute or a stressful meeting, want to unwind with something delicious that won’t break the bank.

For smaller workplaces, even just sharing information about the nutritional qualities of fruits and vegetables is a great way to get started. Having a filtered water cooler, subsidising reusable metal water bottles and organising a free fruit and vegetable delivery to the office are just a few other ideas that you can implement.

Create a sense of community at work

Encourage better mental health and general wellbeing by creating a sense of community within the workplace. This opens up channels of communication between managers and staff and helps to facilitate any difficult conversations that need to be had with regards to health issues. Consider offering work exercise classes like yoga, HIIT, pilates and bootcamps which all members of staff can join. Or, why not enter a charity fundraiser together like a 5K run, 60K bike ride or a Zumbathon?

Have scheduled breaks other than lunch

Regular breaks, even if it’s just for a 10-minute dose of fresh air, can do wonders for the workplace. Ideas for these scheduled breaks include five to ten minutes of mindfulness or guided meditation focusing on breathing and refreshing a cluttered mind. Why not have a technology-free zone full of books, magazines, sofas and music? This is ideal for office members who might need a moment to collect their thoughts and rest their strained eyes.

Keep the workplace hygienic

During the winter – a hotspot of colds, flu and viruses – you need to make sure that your workplace is always kept clean and tidy to avoid the spread of disease and illnesses. Simply employing an office cleaner to spritz, hoover and clean the office daily is a great way to keep on top of pesky bugs.

Promote and encourage personal hygiene amongst your employees. Consider adding soap dispensers or soap bars next to sinks, providing antibacterial hand gel and surface wipes, or even installing showers in the workplace.

Emphasise a work-life balance

Though you want your employees to work hard and meet productivity targets, you also need to be mindful of their work-life balance. Like having a sense of community in the office, simply remembering and encouraging a positive work-life balance will build positive rapport between you and your employees. This can generally help manage stress levels at work, as high-stress environments can be a precursor to a range of mental health problems and can also weaken the immune system.

Keep it a general rule not to email or contact work colleagues out of work hours about work-related issues (unless urgent), and organise plenty of work socials to keep your colleagues feeling chipper at all times.


Duality Healthis a private healthcare clinic catering to the people of Newry and Dungannon and surrounding areas.

Medical Packaging and Labelling – CIEHF Event on 23 October 2019

The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors are holding an event on medical packaging and labelling on 23 October 2019.

The day includes talks and workshops about unsafe pharmaceutical packaging, and look-alike labelling. CIEHF hope that the people attending this event will be able to examine the next steps required to ensure labelling is more consistent in the future. So, it’s a day of discussion and forward planning – not just sitting and listening. CIEHF are looking for participants within healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry and patient communities to work together to identify the issues and then put forward recommendations.

Please see the flyer below for registration details:

Medical Packaging flyer




WHU Consultation – Health is everyone’s business, proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss

WHU Consultation – Health is everyone’s business, proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss

Council for Work and Health members have actively contributed to the extensive research and debate resulting in this welcomed consultation initiative.  It is disappointing that many UK workers, particularly in small businesses, but even in large employers such as the NHS, have inconsistent access to good quality occupational health support when ill.  This exercise seeks to test ideas to enable more workers to get support when needed and hence reduce the numbers that face being unable to work due to resolvable issues. Council members will actively respond to this consultation and we urge as many as possible to contribute to this vital debate and support opportunity for change.

Consultation link: