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Worker Health Protection – Initiatives, Campaigns and Collaborations

The United Kingdom has consistently remained at the forefront of health and safety, with one of the best combined records in the world. This glowing report stems from the UK’s extensive history of health and safety regulations, all of which are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities.

As well as enforcement and regulation, the HSE is responsible for helping employees to understand how they can maintain good health and safety practices in the workplace, placing responsibility on those who create the risks to ensure that they are controlled and regularly monitored. There is a plethora of information on worker health protection available through the HSE and similar organisations, which provide guidance on a range of workplace health initiatives, campaigns and collaborations.

Awareness of workplace health hazards and a greater comprehension of how workers can manage the risks is becoming increasingly commonplace among organisations, thanks to the growing number of worker health protection initiatives available. This guide provides a brief overview of a series of initiatives, campaigns and partnerships designed to promote and enforce worker health protection. While it is by no means inclusive of all of the strategies on offer, it contains information on purpose, ownership and target audience to help you determine which could prove the most beneficial for your business’ needs.

The Construction Dust Partnership

The Construction Dust Partnership is an industry collaboration involving a host of organisations, including the HSE, 3M, Arco, BOHS (British Occupational Hygiene Society), HAE (Hire Association Europe), Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE), Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Safety Groups UK (SGUK). Its aim is to raise awareness within the construction industry regarding lung diseases caused by hazardous workplace dust, as well as promoting good practice to prevent exposure, particularly among those undertaking high risk tasks. Resources, guidance and advice for workers and employers can be found on the Construction Dust Partnership website. 

Construction Dust

Breathe Freely

Breathe Freely is a BOHS initiative aimed at reducing occupational lung disease within the UK’s construction and manufacturing sectors. The HI Standard (Health in Industry Management Standard) is available as a self-assessment tool for construction site health and safety managers, which enables them to gauge how well they are preventing and controlling employees’ exposures to risk factors that can lead to ill health and disease. The Breathe Freely website is packed with guides, fact sheets, toolkits, infographics, checklists and case studies that can assist with the management of workplace health risks.

Go Home Healthy

Forming part of the Work Right cause, Go Home Healthy is the HSE’s occupational health awareness campaign aimed at employers, managers and employees. Designed to protect employees’ health and help them maintain a happy quality of life, the initiative aims to change organisations’ attitudes to ensure that staff are working in a happy and healthy environment. Guidance is available on the Go Home Healthy website, including educational videos on the HSE’s three priority areas: work-related lung disease, musculoskeletal disorders and stress. There is also a range of case studies and partner pages to download that contain further guidance from fellow organisations.      

Working Well Together

Working Well Together (WWT) is the longest running health and safety initiative in the construction industry. Set up by the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC), the initiative promotes health and safety performance within the construction sector through its motto ‘help from the industry for the industry’. The initiative provides relevant health and safety messages and information through building site tours and roadshows, as well as a range of literature that includes the ‘High 5’ and ‘Busy Builder’ leaflets and the WWT Pocket Book. Moreover, WWT run over 60 free events across England, Scotland and Wales each year, including their Safety and Health Awareness Days, and are also part of the CONIAC Supporting Small Employers Working Group.

Healthy Working Lives

As part of the NHS, occupational health, safety and wellbeing professionals at Healthy Working Lives provide a range of free services across Scotland, including workplace visits, training courses, online Virtual Learning Environment training and advice services via phone or email. Downloadable resources are available from the Healthy Working Lives website, which contains information on such topics as how to carry out a risk assessment, common health risks and supporting employees’ physical and mental health. Additional services include advice and support on all aspects of work-related health promotion, ill health prevention, return to work policy and workplace safety.  

Occupational Hygiene

Healthy Lung Partnership

The Healthy Lung Partnership (HLP) coordinates activity to reduce work-related lung disease across Great Britain, with members including HSE, BOHS, British Lung Foundation (BLF), British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), the Department of Health and Social Care (DoH), IOSH, ILEVE and the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM). The partnership shares, promotes and encourages good control practice in the workplace to prevent and reduce exposure to hazardous substances that damage the lungs. HLP’s health priority plan for occupational lung disease, Health and Work strategy and action plan are all available to download.

Helping Great Britain Work Well

Helping Great Britain Work Well is a HSE strategy aimed at tackling ill health in the workplace. The initiative works to promote the broader ownership and benefits of the UK’s health and safety system, manage risk – with a particular focus on small employers – and anticipate and act on new health and safety challenges. Social media icons and logos are available to promote the strategy’s themes, as well as #HelpGBWorkWell pledge cards to support the campaign. 

Dust Buster

Forming another strand of the Work Right cause, the Dust Buster campaign comprises a programme of on-site inspections by the HSE to reduce the level of asbestos, silica, wood and other dusts in the construction sector. A team of HSE inspectors work to ensure that construction professionals are aware of the risks, properly plan their work and use the right control measures when working with dust. The Dust Buster website offers access to resources to raise further awareness of the campaign, including #Dustbuster and #WorkRight selfie cards.

LOcHER

Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks (LOcHER) helps students and apprentices to learn about and identify health and safety risks in their area of study, showcase their newfound knowledge of how they can protect their health and safety and take this experience with them into the world of work. The LOcHER project is based on proven methods of learning and retaining information in engaging and practical ways, which equips students with sound knowledge that can be easily recalled when they enter the workplace. Case studies and leaflets promote broader ownership of responsibility and engagement within the engineering, plumbing, welding and woodwork sectors.

Clear Air? – Take Care!

Clear Air? – Take Care! is a joint initiative between the BSIF and HSE aimed at reducing occupational respiratory disease by promoting respiratory protection solutions in the workplace. The initiative is centred on a range of national activities and educational seminars designed to raise awareness among Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) users, employers, fit testers and advisors on the correct selection, deployment, use, maintenance and storage of RPE. Posters, leaflets, presentations and other campaign materials are available on the Clean Air? – Take Care website.

Respiratory Protection Equipment

No Time to Lose

Working with both employers and employees, No Time to Lose is an IOSH campaign that provides free practical resources to raise awareness and help businesses take action to fight against certain workplace cancers. Five of the common risk factors for occupational cancer registrations and deaths are highlighted by the campaign, including diesel engine exhaust emissions, solar radiation, silica dust, shift work and asbestos. Currently, the strategy is choosing to focus on the health hazards posed by asbestos, recommending the implementation of certain measures to protect workers against the inhalation of fibres.

Health in Construction Leadership Group

The Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) works to unite the construction industry in order to eradicate the ill health and disease associated with exposures to health hazards on building sites. Aiming to achieve a cultural shift within the construction sector in terms of its approach to health and safety, HCLG focuses on such areas as the promotion of good mental health, ‘healthy design’, the prevention of respiratory disease and musculoskeletal disorders and the provision of quality health data for the industry. Available resources include articles, videos and case studies.

One of SOCOTEC’s main priorities is to conduct work safely and healthily, and as a result, we fully support and recognise the importance of spreading awareness of these initiatives. As an organisation, SOCOTEC consistently refers to the guidance within these campaigns to ensure that our employees leave the premises safe and healthy every day, and will continue to use this expertise to ensure our clients are also maintaining effective worker health protection policies.

Click here to discover more about how SOCOTEC’s team of occupational hygienists can support you.

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