Category Archives: News

World Lung Cancer Day – 1 August 2020

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Taking place on 01 August, World Lung Cancer Day raises awareness about lung cancer and its global impact. The day aims to create an educational movement of understanding lung cancer risks as well as early treatment around the world.

It’s estimated that lung cancer accounts for nearly one in five cancer deaths globally. In 2012, there were 1.8 million newly diagnosed cases of this disease alone.

Lung cancer is also one of the most common work‑related cancers, caused by exposure to dangerous carcinogens such as asbestos, silica dust and diesel fumes. However, it can be prevented by putting in place measures to control exposure at work.

Help IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign raise awareness of how to protect people from this deadly disease. You can get involved in the following ways:

• Download and distribute our free resources on how to manage asbestos, silica dustand diesel fumes at work

• Encourage your network to support our campaign and pledge to take action

• Share our messages on social media using the hashtag #WorldLungCancerDay

Thank your continued support to help tackle occupational cancer.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health

The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire LE18 1NN, UK

Returning to work toolkits for employers and occupational health professionals

Returning to work toolkits for employers and occupational health professionals

Managing the safe return to the workplace of millions of UK workers needs careful planning.

Our toolkits, produced in partnership with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Business in the Community (BITC), and Mind, the mental health charity, will help businesses plan to reopen shuttered workplaces.

Free toolkits

There are two toolkits: one for employers and one for occupational health professionals, who are supporting businesses make the workplaces covid-secure. You can download them for free.

Planning workers’ return

Here are five things any business needs to do before employees come back

  1. Contact workers about coming back to the workplace as far in advance of their expected return as you can
  2. Be prepared to have more than one conversation with your employee and use every contact to reassure them about the care you’re taking to open up the workplace
  3. Together with your employee, identify anything that might be an obstacle to their return. Obstacles can be personal, such as difficulty with childcare, practical, such as how they travel to the workplace, and even anxiety about catching covid-19.
  4. Agree with each member of staff a return to work plan which lists who will do what and when.
  5. If the obstacles identified are more than managers and HR departments can resolve, call in occupational health (OH) professionals. OH professionals support the well-being of workers, preventing ill-health, providing independent advice to organisations, facilitating steps to reduce sickness absence, and controlling infection risks.

Conversation starters

Not sure how to start conversations with your furloughed staff?  Here are some conversation starters you can use.

  • “How has life been?”
  • “Are you OK about coming back?”
  • “Do you feel safe coming back?”
  • “How we can make your job better?”
  • “Do you know who to talk with if any problems crop up?”

If someone has existing common health problems, questions could include

  • “Do you feel up to doing your usual job?”
  • “What parts of your job do you think you will find difficult and what can we change to help overcome the difficulties?”

Getting the UK back to work

Work is good for us and the country needs to get back to good, safe jobs, in which people are safe and feel supported. Our Returning to the workplace toolkits can help all kinds of business achieve this. Download them for free from the Resources section.

Vulnerability to COVID-19

Vulnerability to COVID-19

 

Dr Robin Cordell, a director of the Council for Work and Health, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians has this week brought our attention to the following piece within the President of the Royal College of Physicians of London most recent update to members of the Royal College.

 

In this update, Professor Andrew Goddard MD PRCP highlights the importance of assessing those who are more vulnerable should they be infected with COVID-19, so informing individual risk assessment by management as to how such people may be protected in their work.

 

We were very pleased that the President of the Royal College of Physicians has highlighted the essential work done by occupational health staff, and that he made a specific point of thanking occupational physicians (the Faculty of Occupational Medicine being a faculty of this Royal College) and so by extension all those supporting health and work at this time.

 

This is the key part of this message from the President of the Royal College of Physicians:

“The creation of a list of 1.8 million people as a ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group who need ‘shielding’ from COVID-19 was both a mammoth task and one that all involved should be proud of. Risk, though, is not a binary thing. As our understanding of what makes people more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 improves, we may need to be a bit more flexible about who needs shielding and who does not. This will be especially true as the rest of the population comes out of lockdown and being shielded may be seen by some of the shielded as a curse rather than a blessing.

 

Such risk needs to take into account the susceptibility of an individual to infection and the severity of disease that results. Some of this will be defined by obvious parameters such as age, comorbidities, medications, ethnicity and sex. The risk will also depend on the exposure risk in the community (will we have a local COVID-19 level as we do for pollen, pollution and UV exposure?), occupation and means of commuting. Lastly, each of us has our own perception of what we will accept when it comes to risk. As we refine ‘shielding’ it will need to be as personalised and thought about as any shared decision we make about a treatment in clinic or on the ward.

 

The role of ethnicity remains something that many are rightly worried about. There are several pieces of work going on in both PHE and NHSE looking at this. Occupational medicine has a large role to play for us as physicians and the letter from Simon Stevens formally tasked trusts with risk assessing staff. Anne de Bono, president of our Faculty of Occupational Medicine, is working hard on this with colleagues, including the Society of Occupational Medicine. This is going to be a massive amount of work for an understaffed part of our workforce.

 

This week’s shout out therefore goes to them. Thank you to all our occupational physicians.”

 

 

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.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/health-is-everyones-business-proposals-to-reduce-ill-health-related-job-loss

Consultation link:

https://getinvolved.dwp.gov.uk/work-and-health/consultation/

 

No Time To Lose (IOSH Campaign)

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Did you know that worldwide at least 38,000 people die every year from mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer?

These deaths cause so much heartbreak and suffering. They leave huge holes in families; ones that can never be filled. Asbestos fibres are invisible to the naked eye, therefore it is so important for people to know where asbestos can be found, so these deaths can be prevented.

Taking place tomorrow, (05 July), Action Mesothelioma Day, brings together patients, carers, families and local dignitaries in Britain for services of remembrance and hope, commemorating the thousands of lives lost to mesothelioma. The day is organised by No Time to Lose (NTTL) supporter Mesothelioma UK.

To mark this important day, we will be attending the service at Leicester Cathedral to support Mesothelioma UK and to exhibit our new co-branded pocket cards. We are also joining forces with the international Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization by sharing resources through its Know Asbestos campaign website.

You can get involved in Action Mesothelioma Day too by:

  • downloading and distributing our free resources, to raise awareness of the risks.
  • signing-up to our pledge (if you haven’t already), to capture the key actions your organisation does, or plans to do, to manage carcinogenic exposures at work. Once your pledge has been approved, we will send you an IOSH certificate demonstrating your commitment.
  • supporting NTTL by communicating the campaign through your communications channels
  • following @_NTTL on Twitter and retweeting our tweets to help spread the word.

Many thanks for your continued support. Together we can beat occupational cancer.

Injustices faced by disabled people to be tackled head-on through a new package of measures ordered by the Prime Minister

Injustices faced by disabled people to be tackled head-on through a new package of measures ordered by the Prime Minister.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-launches-new-drive-to-tackle-barriers-faced-by-disabled-people

As part of her legacy as Prime Minister, Theresa May launched a package of cross departmental measures to “change the landscape for disabled people and to make sure there is always a level playing field for them”.  There are a range of proposals intended to “support disabled people in all phases of their life so that the pursuit of equality is a shared goal.”  These include higher accessibility standards for new housing, an overhaul of statutory sick pay, and greater workplace support to help ensure disabled people can fully participate in society.

Although the whole package of measures is important for the members of the Council for Work and Health, one of the most direct concerns “New employee rights to request workplace modifications on health grounds”.  We expect the detail of this to link to our resources on Workplace Modifications.  Dr Steve Boorman, Chair of the Council welcomed the announcement saying “Council Members have actively contributed to the “Improving Lives” agenda across all of its programmes. We look forward to supporting the opportunities, trailed in this announcement, to help support individuals in accessing good work and the health benefits this creates”.

 

 

Work Modifications wins an award!

Work Modifications wins an award

The Council for Work and Health is delighted that the Talking Work project has won the Vocational Rehabilitation  Association’s (VRA) Innovation, Research and Education Award for 2019.   The lead researcher Dr Devdeep Ahuja received the award during the VRA symposium on 1st May 2019 at Birmingham.

In supporting the nomination, Richard Cienciala, Deputy Director, DWP/DHSC Work and Health Unit praised the collaborative approach taken by the Council and commented that the “Talking Work” checklist “should be an invaluable tool to support doctors in their work-related conversations and in advising on reasonable adjustments.”

 

https://vrassociationuk.com/vra-awards-2019-winners-gallery/