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This month's look at recent occupational health research papers covers: stress; "sharps" injuries; the risks of working with asbestos; and educating employers about how to help staff with diabetes.
Global stress challenge
Stress at work is the leading health challenge facing employers globally, followed by physical activity/exercise and nutrition/healthy eating, according to the latest annual survey of workplace wellness and productivity from Buck Consultants. However, in developing countries, including Asia, Latin America and Africa, workplace safety remains the biggest challenge. The survey, which covers more than 1,000 employers in 37 countries, also finds that while multinational companies are increasingly developing global strategies on workplace health, often with flexibility for local managers to adapt these to take account of local factors, only half of employers worldwide measure the effectiveness of their wellbeing programmes.
Buck Consultants. Working well: a global survey of health promotion, workplace wellness, and productivity strategies. First published September 2014.
Majority of “sharps” still not safe
Only just over a quarter (28%) of needles and syringes purchased by the NHS in 2014 were safety devices, slightly up on the 24% figure for the previous year, according to information obtained by Unison under a freedom of information request. Purchasing practice varies enormously between NHS organisations; some community trusts report that more than 80% of devices are safe, while in others the figure is as low as 16%. Current regulations require employers to substitute unprotected sharps with ones incorporating safety mechanisms when it is reasonably practical to do so. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that there are around 100,000 sharps injuries each year.
Unison. Health staff still at risk of needle injuries. First published October 2014.
Around 1.3 million UK tradespeople face asbestos risk
Individual construction workers, carpenters and painters and decorators are likely to come into contact with asbestos more than 100 times a year, on average, according to a surve