Kings College NHS Trust
Audited OH, wrote business strategy and managed the merger with SLaM OH. improved efficiency and saved over £500k.
Wrote site and supplier Occupational Health Auditing programmes against the Crossrail Standards. Appointed Principal Auditor during Crossrail Tunnel Development
Marks & Spencer
Built the www.planahealth.com website, developed resilience training programme and ran wellbeing challenges.
Audited OH, wrote wellbeing strategy and launched new wellbeing programme including health screening and wellbeing challenges.
- COVID-19 Links
- COVID -19 RTW - Identify obstacles
- COVID -19 RTW - Mental health
- COVID-19 Work safety
- COVID-19 RTW - Those who have had virus
- UK Government Guidance – Click here
- UK Government. Guidance on testing – Click here
- Society of Medicine – Click here
- HSE – HSE
- Fitness to work risk assessments – Alama
- WHO – work place ready – WHO
- CIPD toolkit CIPD
- AHP Health and Work Report AHP
- Acas – For guidance on managing workplace issues around coronavirus ACAS
- Health-Work Toolbox www.goodworkgoodhealth.com (password: goodwork2020)
Making work attractive and providing reassurance to staff is key to encourage their return to work. Employers need to identify obstacles that may prevent or delay a return or require workers to remain away from the workplace. Temporary, medium- or long-term adjustments may be required, e.g. a gradual build-up of hours. A conversation about returning to work between line managers and employees is critical. They need to cover what the first day back will be like, what to expect, issues relating to the commute and workplace strategies to minimise risk. Staff confidence comes from them being engaged and confdent that their concerns are being listened to and acted upon, as well as knowing that the employer is joining up with appropriate experts such as OH.
It is crucial that employers and managers are aware of and understand the key principles of employment law when it comes to proposing and discussing any changes to work arrangements or other terms and conditions. Otherwise they risk creating disputes around breach of contract, as well as potentially ill-feeling and resentment amongst staff. The core principle is the need to consult staff (and reps where applicable/available) to seek to reach agreement
about e.g. changes to shift patterns, or any other changes that vary terms and conditions. There also could be a risk of discrimination here – so changes need to be handled carefully. See the Acas guidance on varying contractual
terms and conditions: www.acas.org.uk/changing-anemployment-contract
Mental health and wellbeing support is a key principle of a good return to work – see Acas’ guidance on supporting mental health in the workplace. It is also key for employers to ensure workers know how and with whom to raise
concerns. In terms of dealing with concerns, the principles are that line managers should take an approach of working together with their staff to resolve any concerns; and teams should be empowered to work up solutions (within the parameters of public health guidelines and employer’s duty of care).
On arrival in a workplace consideration should occur about hygiene – access points, staggered routes, lifts/doors/stairs, posters about regular hand washing with clear visible messages. This should take place for every employee with
the focus on their health, safety and wellbeing. It should also identify any issues that may prevent, delay or require workers to remain away from the workplace. This should be a sensitive and open discussion to discuss any adjustments and/or ongoing support individuals may need to facilitate an efective return to work. It’s important to consider resourcing issues to support physical distancing, such as ‘cohorting’ – i.e. keeping people working in the same teams (e.g. team A and team B), and keeping teams small so large numbers of people do not come in at the same time.
Individuals who have had the virus can resume work 2-3 days after the symptoms of sore throat, fever, headache, persistent cough etc. have ceased. In addition, they can resume work if they have a mild intermittent cough and
have not had a temperature of 37.8c or more without using medication to limit their fever for 48 hours. They should not resume work less than 7 days after the onset of symptoms. The UK.Gov site ofers helpful advice that, if allowed, can reduce the risk to others when a worker comes out of isolation and for when they are at home with a possible COVID-19 infection. The cough can persist for some weeks. 7 days is an isolation period not a recuperation period. Many will need longer term recuperation and phased return to work plans. People who are most afected by COVID-19 may be more likely to have other underlying health conditions and some previous life experiences may increase the likelihood of psychological difculties arising from COVID-19 treatment. Flexibility is encouraged to accommodate safe and confdent return to work for these groups where desired or necessary. When individuals who have had the virus return to work, there is risk that they may sufer ill-treatment from colleagues and managers, who may be afraid of contracting the virus from them. Similarly, vulnerable groups may fnd they are being treated diferently or unfairly compared with other groups. It is important to make sure that all staf are clearly informed that any return to work is being managed in line with the government’s latest medical advice. All staf should be encouraged to come forward with any concerns they may have about any ill-treatment and should be made aware of how and with whom to raise their concerns. Occupational health (OH) specialists, including OH nurses
and physicians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, vocational rehabilitation and other return to work specialists can assist with:
- Education and intervention around psychological wellbeing e.g. addressing the barriers to people staying connected with families, friends, work and their community and encourage engagement in meaningful occupations, physical activity and relaxation to promote wellbeing and reduce symptoms of mental ill health.
- Onward referral and collaboration where additional specialist input is required, e.g. cardiac, pulmonary,
- Breathlessness and fatigue management – education, intervention and review.
- Self-management techniques – pacing, grading, prioritising, relaxation and sleep hygiene education.
- Facilitation of group/individual rehabilitation delivered by other competent professionals and referrals to social prescribing schemes and signposting to community organisations and welfare rights advice.