Brexit and OH
According to our July tea-breaker poll, nearly half (49%) of OH professionals believe that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (‘Brexit’) will have a negative impact on OH law. But many others (24% of those polled) say the impact will be positive. Just over one-quarter (27%) of respondents say Brexit will have no impact. Written comments ranged from those who feared Brexit would have a negative impact on workers’ rights, to others who said that the UK was capable of making its own OH law. A full report is published in the August/September edition of Occupational Health [at Work].
NICE on health and wellbeing at work
NICE has issued a draft quality standard on improving employees’ mental and physical health. It recommends that employers have a named senior manager ‘responsible for making employee health and wellbeing a core priority’ and that line managers are trained to recognise and provide support when employees are stressed. The consultation ends on 13 September.
Health and safety minister
Penny Mordaunt MP has been appointed as Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work. She has ministerial responsibility for overseeing the Health and Safety Executive, the Fit for Work service and the government’s cross-departmental Work and Health Programme.
A South London hospice has been given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £25,000 costs following the death of a patient and the serious illness of a worker who both contracted Legionnaires’ disease in 2012 due to poor management of the building’s water system. St Christopher’s Hospice of Sydenham pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The worker recovered after spending 18 days in a coma.
Alcohol and drugs at work
The BMA’s occupational medicine committee has released updated guidance on the role of medical professionals in addressing alcohol and drug misuse in the workplace. It says the workplace is an ideal place to offer health education on alcohol and drugs and provides opportunities to identify and support problem users.
e-cigarettes at work
Public Health England has published a framework to help employers develop appropriate policies on the use of electronic cigarette substitutes, or ‘e-cigarettes’, in the workplace. It follows evidence published in August 2015 that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to health than conventional cigarettes and that, if supported by a smoking-cessation programme, they help smokers quit tobacco altogether. There is also no evidence of a meaningful health risk to bystanders.
The HSE has published guidance to help employers comply with the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016, which came into force on 1 July. The regulations require employers to assess the level of electromagnetic fields to which employees may be exposed and to ensure compliance with exposure limit values (ELVs). The ELVs do not apply to work involving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in healthcare.
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 August/September issue looks at research in the following areas, amongst others: