Occupational health for Scottish GPs and practice staff
Scottish GPs and practice staff can now access their local health board’s occupational health services free of charge, the Scottish government has announced. The scheme is backed by £920,000 of funding and will help staff with issues such as back pain, return to work after illness and workplace assessments. Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: “I acknowledge that working in GP surgeries has its challenges and therefore it’s quite right that these valued members of the NHS family are able to take full advantage of these services.”
Occupational medicine workforce crisis
There has been a huge reduction in the number of new doctors being trained in occupational medicine according to a report by the all-party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. Ian Lavery MP, chair of the group said: “Given the huge number of workers who are being injured or made ill at work we need to work towards every employee having access to an occupational health service. That means, among other things, enough doctors qualified in occupational medicine. We need urgent action to support and develop the profession.”
Mental health at work
Almost half (49%) of line mangers would welcome basic training in common mental health conditions, according to a survey report by the charity Business in the Community. The survey also found that over three-quarters (77%) of employees had experienced poor mental health, and 62% of employees attributed their symptoms to work or said that work was a contributing factor.
Star Wars film-maker fined £1.6m
The Disney-owned company Foodles Production (UK) Ltd has been sentenced after actor Harrison Ford was injured on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
in 2014. Ford was struck by a metal door and suffered a broken leg and deep lacerations. The HSE described how the door moved ‘from ceiling to floor in a sharp downward motion’ and said that there was no sensor fitted to automatically stop the door when a person was beneath it. After pleading guilty at a previous hearing to section 2 and section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the company was fined £1.6 million and ordered to pay costs of over £20,000.
Green paper: work, health and disability
The government has published a green paper on disability and employment, which proposes reform of the Work Capability Assessment – the process for assessing benefit claimants’ ability to work. Other proposals include: a review of statutory sick pay and GP fit notes; encouraging Jobcentre Plus work coaches to signpost claimants to therapy; encouraging employers to work with their employees with long-term health conditions to stop them from falling out of work; and a debate about recognising the value of work as a health outcome. The government invites views from a range of stakeholders. consultations.dh.gov.uk/workandhealth/consult
The latest Research Plus is available free of charge on our website
Research Plus, funded by a grant from the British Occupational Health Research Foundation
, is freely available to all OH professionals. It is published as part of the Occupational Health [at Work]
journal. It highlights original research and systematic reviews from a wide range of current publications meeting evidence quality criteria.
Please visit http://www.atworkpartnership.co.uk/researchplus
to search all of the articles in Research Plus free of charge from 2007 to the present day.
The October/November 2016 issue looks at research in the areas of: flu vaccination; weight loss and muscle strength; and, mindfulness training for managers amongst other issues.
Here is a sample article from the October/November 2016 issue:
Workaholics suffer sleep problems: Working excessively and compulsively is associated with poor sleep and having a raised risk of cardiovascular disease, this study of 537 employees in five Spanish hospitals found. The Dutch Work Addiction Scale was used to classify participants as either: positive (low score for working excessively and low score for working compulsively; n = 219); compulsive (high compulsive, low excessive; n = 96); hard working (high excessive, low compulsive; n = 60); or workaholic (high scores for both; n = 162). Hard workers and workaholics had higher scores than the other two groups for morning tiredness and sleeping while driving (p <0.05). Workaholics slept fewer hours during the week (p <0.01) and at weekends (p <0.05) and had poorer sleep quality compared with the other groups (p <0.05). They also had higher scores on the Framingham Index, which estimates the risk of having a cardiovascular event over the next 10 years (p <0.05).
Work & Stress 2016; 30(3): 228–242.