Occupational Health Awards 2007: Atos Healthcare Award for Best Occupational Health Intervention

Category judge: Judy Cook, general manager health services, British Airways

Judy Cook worked in acute clinical care settings in London and overseas before entering occupational health nursing in the late 1970s. She has worked in both the public and private sectors and is currently general manager of health services delivery at British Airways. Cook is active in encouraging effective post-registration continuing education and life-long learning for OH practitioners. She is particularly interested in encouraging OH teams to change to meet the demands of health promotion, primary care and public health.

Shortlisted teams:

Surrey Police

  • About the organisation: Surrey Police employs around 2,000 officers and 2,000 civilian staff.

  • The challenge: It introduced a force-wide private medical insurance scheme in 2001, but an increase in subscription rates in 2004 meant it was no longer a viable option. It had to find an alternative to the popular scheme, as well as reduce the 2002-03 absence rate of 11.5 days per employee.

  • What the team did: It introduced funding for targeted treatment for musculoskeletal disorders using private healthcare and initiatives, including health screening and an employee assistance programme. The overall absence rate has fallen to less than nine days.

  • Judge’s comment: “A good submission on a very topical subject. The issues are described clearly with a strong business-focused approach. A sound section was included on the impressive results. Although there could have been more detail supplied about teamwork, this was an obvious team effort.”

Hampshire Constabulary

  • About the organisation: Hampshire Constabulary employs 6,800 people.

  • The challenge: The force needed to resolve the issue of a number of officers being on restricted duties, which was leading to job dissatisfaction and illness.

  • What the team did: The OH team identified that of the 403 roles available to police officers, only 174 were high risk. A risk profile was introduced for all roles, allowing officers to return to full duties. Six other police forces now plan to adopt the approach.

  • Judge’s comment: “A well-presented submission, which challenged long-term assumptions about restricted duties. A good risk-based approach to the study and an innovative approach to interpreting accident data. It is particularly strong on its team approach and gaining stakeholder support.”

David Brown Engineering

  • About the organisation: David Brown Engineering designs and manufactures machinery gears and employs 2,300 people in Europe, the US and Asia. The headquarters for the Gear Technologies product line employs 400 people.

  • The challenge: The company used a reactive approach and first aid, and had minimal records of injuries or illnesses. It was identified that several employers had chronic skin conditions.

  • What the team did: Working with RPS Business Healthcare, the company introduced basic medicals, regular meetings to discuss problems, and action plans to tackle work-related skin conditions. The company experienced a 30% reduction in skin conditions, and there are currently no chronic conditions.

  • Judge’s comment: “A significantly impressive and clear submission. Although this project could be considered fundamental to occupational health, the intervention was new to this company, and benefited both employee and the organisation. The action plan was varied and demonstrated a good team approach.”

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