Category Archives: Community

COVID-19 – Coronavirus Concerns Update

4th March 2020

COVID-19 – Coronavirus concerns

You will be aware of the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the subsequent confirmed cases in the UK.  It also appears that there are increasing numbers of the public that have been confirmed with coronavirus.  At Havio, we take the health and safety of our staff and clients very seriously, so we are sharing guidance from Public Health England on steps you should be taking.

There is currently no cause for concern at Havio; we are keeping abreast of the daily communication that we receive from the authorities locally and nationally.

Many of you will be very concerned and anxious about what you have heard in the media and may even now know of people who have been affected by this virus.

We aim to keep you informed about any developments from the government and ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of any virus.  We are spending even more time on cleaning and implementing precautions for our staff whilst working, travelling and visiting sites and even going over and above the current recommendations.

  1. Prevent the spread of infection

Make sure you and your workforce follow these general principles to prevent spreading any respiratory virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based sanitiser if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home and don’t attend work
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at work
  • Consider conference calls and video meetings instead of meetings in person
  • Carry sanitisers and use when travelling, using welfare facilities and eating (before and after)
  • Consider and assess who may need to visit your workplace and where they are coming from or where they have been travel wise
  • If you are worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111 – don’t go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
  1. If you or your staff have returned from a category 1 country or area in the past 14 days

This includes:

  • Wuhan city and Hubei province, China
  • Iran*
  • Daegu or Cheongdo, South Korea*
  • Any Italian town under containment measures* (see the map here)

*Only if you’ve returned on or after 19 February 2020.

Contact NHS 111 for advice, and:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days after leaving the country or area (see the home isolation advice sheet for help with this)
  • If you become unwell, call NHS 111 immediately for an assessment (or 999 if you require emergency medical attention) – see below for the symptoms to look out for
  1. If you or your staff have returned from a category 2 country or area in the last 14 days

This includes:

  • Cambodia
  • China (other than Wuhan city or Hubei province)
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy: north* (see the map here)
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • South Korea (other than Daegu or Cheongdo)
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

*Only if you’ve returned on or after 19 February 2020.

If you are feeling well:

  • You don’t need to avoid contact with other people
  • Your other family members don’t need to take any precautions or make any changes to their own activities

If you become unwell (see below for a list of symptoms):

  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses (see the home isolation advice sheet for help with this)
  • Call NHS 111 immediately for an assessment (or 999 if you require emergency medical attention)
  1. Symptoms to look out for

If you have returned from any of the category 1 or 2 areas or countries, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever (a temperature of 38 degrees C or higher)

According to other official guidance, while you wait for further advice:

  • Avoid contact with others
  • Stay at home – don’t go to work
  • Don’t travel while sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, throwing tissues in the bin
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or an alcohol-based sanitiser if soap and water aren’t available)
  1. What to do if an employee becomes unwell and they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19

If the person has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue.

If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible, find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.

The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.

Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.

If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.

For current guidance for employees and employers and further information please click here.

 

We will continue with regular updates as changes occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

What are musculoskeletal disorders?

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries or pain in the human musculoskeletal system, including the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons and structures that support the neck, back and limbs. The most common and disabling musculoskeletal conditions are osteoarthritis, back and neck pain, fractures associated with bone fragility, injuries and systematic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the causes for musculoskeletal disorders?

How can businesses help their employees?

As an employer, you must protect your workers form risk of injury from hazardous manual handling in the workplace. Manual handling means transporting or supporting a load by hand of bodily force. It includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving loads. The law sets out how employers must deal with risks from manual handling. These include, avoiding hazardous manual handling, as far as is reasonably practicable, assessing the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided and reducing the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling to as low as reasonably practicable.

As an employer, you must also protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. The law applies if users are at a fixed workstation, mobile workers, home workers and hot-desking. Employers must carry out a DSE workstation assessment, reduce risks, provide an eye test if a worker asks for one and provide training and information for workers.

How can Havio help?

We are proud to offer something different when it comes to classroom based training. Our courses are made bespoke to each client with an emphasis on fun and engagement to ensure the most is made from the experience with our team of trainers. Our sessions are filled with useful practical exercises and real-life case studies to help focus on key areas needed and the ongoing application within the workplace. Whether the purpose of the training is to raise awareness or give employees the ability to carry out tasks, we can make the session informative by introducing practical and relevant application during our sessions.

Havio offer a range of classroom training including manual handling and DSE train the trainer. Our training lasts 4-8 hours depending on content which is bespoke to each client. The sessions can be delivered at your workplace or at a number of locations across London and the South.

Havio also offer a range of eLearning courses which include manual handling, DSE training and DSE assessments. These modules take on average, 30 minutes to complete. The modules are emailed to each candidate to complete in their own time offering a certificate at the end.

Community Puzzle

Today’s article focuses on our community puzzles which are part of our social and well-being program at Havio. There are lots of benefits to having puzzles in the workplace which will be covered in this article.

Some people start with the border, some focus on one specific part of the image and build out, some cluster similar pieces together even if they don’t connect them and others fit random pieces in as they walk by. We find employees fitting pieces into our puzzle whilst they have their lunch, wait for their tea to brew or if they want to take a break away from the screen.

Completing puzzles has the following benefits which, of course, employers can make the most of:

Improved memory – Solving puzzles helps reinforce existing connections between our brain cells. Puzzles are especially good for improving short-term memory. Our short-term memory helps us remember shapes and colours and visualise the bigger picture to figure out which pieces will fit together.

Better problem-solving skills – The ability to creatively solve problems and think critically is greatly valued in the workforce. Puzzles require us to take different approaches to try and solve a problem since there’s a lot of trial and error involved. We also learn the value of formulating theories, testing hypotheses, and changing our perspectives when something doesn’t work out according to plan.  This benefits employers as it makes employees more innovative and adaptable.

Improved visual-spatial reasoning – When solving a puzzle, we have to look at different pieces and figure out where they fit in within the larger picture. Doing this regularly helps improve our visual-spatial reasoning. This can help with daily tasks such as driving a car, using a map, packing items into a box but most importantly visual spatial ability is very important for people who work in certain fields, such as architects and engineers.

Improved mood – Completing puzzles increases our brains production of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and feelings of optimism. It also affects memory, concentration, and motivation. Dopamine is released every time we successfully solve a puzzle, or just put one piece in place. This encourages us to continue working on solving them and challenging ourselves.

Lower stress levels – At the same time that puzzles challenge us, they also help us to relax. Our brains also go from a “Beta”, or wakeful state to an “Alpha” state when we’re solving puzzles. This shift consciousness comes with many benefits including: improved mindset, relieves stress, improves mood and increases our self-confidence.

Increased attention to detail – When you’re trying to solve a puzzle, especially one with tiny pieces that all look alike, attention to detail is crucial. You need to train your eyes to pick out slight differences in colour or shape that will help you put everything together. An ability to pick up on small details helps in every aspect of our lives, especially at work. When we’re more detail orientated and precise, the quality of our work improves.

Increased productivity – When we’re happier and less stressed out, it’s easier for us to concentrate. When our concentration improves, our productivity naturally skyrockets. If you’re struggling to stay on task, consider taking a short break to solve a puzzle piece (or a few) and reset your brain.

Better collaboration – Having a puzzle in a communal area, such as the kitchen, allows employees to work together on solving it. This leads to improved relationships and their abilities to cooperate and finish a task.

 

Winter well-being at work – January Blues

January is traditionally seen as a time of great hope and optimism for the New Year; a moment to make plans and create lists of resolutions. However, the first few weeks of January are often perceived as a challenging time for the workforce from a mental well-being perspective and for those with a mental health issue. Blue Monday is the third Monday in January, and is said to be the most depressing day of the year. 

Dark mornings and short days, compounded by cold wet weather and, for some, the arrival of credit card bills demanding payment for the excesses of Christmas, can certainly make January a difficult month for some. Add to that the pressure some people feel in the month following the festive season to stick to hopeful New Year’s resolutions and undo the excesses of the festive season whilst battling virulent seasonal colds, and it’s easy to see why January can be quite gloomy.

One study, by consultancy Mercer, claims that sick leave is at its highest rate in January  more than a third of all sick days are taken in this month, according to its research. Additionally, Monday is the most common day for sickness.

Employers have a legal responsibility for the Health and Safety of their employees and need to be aware of their responsibilities under the law, but also understand the wider benefits to the business of having a healthy, happy and mentally fit workforce.

What do employees want?

The 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer revealed a few employee desires that aren’t in the top three employer offers which are good pensions, free parking and flexible working. The study took a multi-perspective approach and collected information from 800 business executives and 1800 HR leaders, as well as 5000 employees across 21 industries. Among the findings, Mercer identified three factors that employees are looking for in a company. This included limiting out of hours communication, a commitment to health and well-being and working with a purpose.

Out of hours communication – Just about everyone is contactable all of the time these days and it’s often hard to ignore emails and messages when they come in, even if it can wait until Monday morning. Lidl has recently announced that their staff in Belgium would be banned from sending internal emails between 6pm and 7am to relieve their staff from the perceived responsibility to be contactable at all times. It may make you think, as an employer, about how sending emails out of hours might affect the recipient and put them under unnecessary pressure. If you don’t require an immediate response but just want to tick it off your ‘things to do’ list, consider setting up a time delay or create a draft to send early the next working day instead.

Health and well-being – Workplace wellness initiatives do more than just promote healthy habits. They show employees that their employers truly care about their health and well-being. 50% of employees would like to see a greater focus on well-being at their company. Havio is working towards having its own wellness programme and currently offers yoga sessions and lunch and learn sessions when it’s an employees birthday with cake and games.

Working with a purpose – Many employees feel that they are just working for a paycheck and aren’t contributing to the greater good of society. Without a sense of purpose, it’s difficult for employees to connect with their work and their company. Working with a sense of purpose boosts employee motivation, productivity, morale, and overall job satisfaction. In order for employers to provide purpose to employees, employers should create a company vision, show recognition, express gratitude, let employees know how their job impacts the company and clients, frequently discuss the meaning and value of the company, share customer success stories and ditch tunnel vision and focus on the bigger picture.

Retail crime ‘epidemic’ leading to PTSD in shop staff

Shop workers are experiencing “severe mental health consequences” as a result of violent store crime, a study has found.

The hard-hitting report calls for action to stem the rising number of crimes against retail workers and identifies widespread post-traumatic stress disorder affecting staff.

The research, undertaken by City, University of London, uses data from the retail union Usdaw, industry bodies and government figures and calls on the government to urgently protect employees and to send a clear message that violence and verbal aggression will not be tolerated on the high street.

The Co-op-funded report – part of the grocer’s Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign – also found that the rising number of crimes against shop workers has hit a five-year high. More than 42,000 assaults or threats were recorded in the industry in 2018, with 115 colleagues physically attacked every day, with many more verbally abused and threatened.

 

Let’s not forget that behind each and every statistic is a person who has directly experienced violence or verbal abuse while simply doing their job.

“The strain of constant abuse and fear of physical violence is causing some shop workers to change their shift pattern, their place of work or, in the worst cases, terminate their employment entirely,” the report said.

Criminologist Dr Emmeline Taylor, the report’s author, set out seven key recommendations for action to tackle assaults and abuse against shop workers, including:

  • a review of the  Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (ASBCPA) 2014, specifically to consider the impact that financial values set in the Act have had on levels of theft;
  • introduce new legislation which would carry higher penalties for attacks where the shop worker is enforcing the law on age-restricted sales, such as cigarettes or alcohol;
  • change expectations regarding age-restricted sales to move the onus onto customers to voluntarily prove their age as opposed to shop workers having to enforce the legislation;
  • measure hate-motivated offences in shops and provide adequate support for those targeted; and
  • deal with the root causes with better mental health provision and drug treatment programmes.

“Multiple data sources show that the frequency and severity of violence towards shop workers is increasing,” said Dr Taylor. “Often ignored as ‘retail crime’ and therefore somehow victimless, let’s not forget that behind each and every statistic is a person who has directly experienced violence or verbal abuse while simply doing their job. The accounts provided in this study by victims highlight that more needs to be done to protect shop workers.

“There are several actionable recommendations for the industry, government and communities that, if implemented, I believe will begin to reverse the upsurge in violence occurring in our shops. But tackling violence requires long-term meaningful investment in communities coupled with an effective criminal justice system that works to address the root causes of crime. Violence is preventable, not inevitable.”

Havio comment by Rob Anderson: This is an important area for retailers to assess and it starts with selecting the location of stores, profiling, considering prevention measures and then education of the risks. Punishment levels are certainly no deterrent in the UK currently.

Credit to IOSH Magazine