Paying attention to the health of staff is as important as looking after their safety, according to an expert.
Arup Majhi, the safety, health and environment manager at Carlisle City Council, told a 16 July meeting of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) South Cumbria and North Lancashire District that health and wellbeing was often overlooked.
He said: “My view is that lots of training is often given around safety, but that is not always the case with health. It is proven now that stress leads to more absences from work than manual handling problems.
“At the council we have done a lot of work on health and wellbeing over the past 12 years. As well as organising classes and lunchtime learning sessions, we have also refurbished restrooms and toilets. Things like that make people feel more valued at work, which is very important.”
The council set up an occupational health service in 2004 and an employee assistance programme in 2010. Initiatives for its workers have also included weight management and yoga classes, organising flu jabs and new dad packs.
District chair Geoffrey Price said it is important that organisations of all sizes viewed the health and wellbeing of staff as a priority, adding: “The management of health and wellbeing is probably most prevalent within large organisations. It would be most welcome if these principles could be cascaded down to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).”
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