Women’s health and the effects of menopause are increasingly becoming part of health promotion activities for many occupational health services. These CPD activities, compiled by Professor Anne Harriss, aim to help integrate this into your OH practice.
Understanding menstruation and menopause transition in Western society and the UK is complex. It is influenced by many factors, so it can be difficult for women, trans/non-binary and intersex people, healthcare professionals, and employers to understand and manage any physical and mental health symptoms.
It is important to understand that the term ‘symptoms’ is used to recognise that, even though menstruation and menopause transition are not medical conditions, some women, trans, non-binary and intersex people will have negative experiences that will affect their quality of life both in and out of the workplace.
The following activities are aimed at helping you to integrate this into your practice. They complement our webinar Menopause – the occupational health practitioner’s role.
Considering menopause as a workplace equality and inclusion issue, identify the policies, processes, and support that your organisation already has in place that includes menopause.
- Explore any health promotion initiatives featuring menopause education that support worker health and wellbeing. How was success measured and monitored, and what is the next step?
- If it has not been featured in your workplace, what could you, as an OH professional, do to address this and how might you do this? Identify possible barriers and solutions.
There are organisational benefits in being a “menopause-positive” workplace.
Employers supporting employees who are experiencing menopause is a win-win for all parties. Employees receive evidenced-based health advice, and this support is likely to have a positive impact on productivity.
Several trade unions are championing the development of menopause policies. For example, USDAW, the union for shop workers, encouraged Tesco to pilot menopause support groups.
Find out whether unions that are recognised in your workplace have been involved in similar activities. The TUC has provided guidance for trade union representatives on supporting working women through the menopause.
How can you influence your organisation to include menopause in its overall health and wellbeing agenda?
How can you include menopause education within your department and clinical practise?
The CIPD, the professional body for HR professionals, has several excellent menopause-related resources available. Read these and relate them to your own workplace and OH practice. The menopause at work: guidance for people professionals is particularly useful.
Design and write a bespoke guide for the specific needs of your workforce, including intersectional factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, and type of occupation.
The webinar introduced the legal requirements and duty of care relating to managing workplace risks to health. Are there any gaps in your knowledge of employment/health and safety legislation relevant to menopause?
Access the guidance on menopause and the workplace produced by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and reflect on how you will integrate this guidance in your practice
Do you feel competent to advise a manager on their duty of care for an employee impacted by symptoms of the menopause transition?
Acas has published material on menopause and work that details legislative requirements. Design a learning session to deliver to fellow colleagues on key responsibilities.
Part of the role of OH is to identify potential harm and recommend behaviours and interventions to reduce and control the risk of it occurring.
Establish a gender-sensitive approach when assessing an employee. Adapt your existing framework and include the biological/sociological/psychological and cultural factors that increases the risk of harm.
For example, menstruation history to identify signposting requirements; type of job such as sedentary, low autonomy, long shifts; uniforms; type of social life; whether the employee is a carer or parent; whether they have more than one job; the employee’s and organisation’s attitudes and beliefs to menopause – is it addressed or discussed at work and home at all?
Compile a list of inclusive signposting information to give to employees requiring further information and support. Identify workplace, local and national agencies. The SOM website has useful links including those to national agencies for you to start with.