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TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

Stress Awareness Month 2024: Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

Monday  15th April, 2024

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


In today's fast-paced world, stress and its toll on mental health continue to pose significant challenges. Despite our awareness of these issues, the separation of mental and physical health remains prevalent. However, it's imperative to recognise that they are intertwined facets of our overall well-being. As we observe Stress Awareness Month this April, it's a timely reminder to confront these challenges head-on and foster a culture of open dialogue surrounding mental health in the workplace.


Understanding Work-Related Stress


The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines work-related stress as the adverse reaction people experience when faced with excessive pressures or demands in their jobs. Stress can also build when people feel they don’t have the physical, financial, or emotional resources needed to cope with these demands.


In 2022, CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey report, in partnership with Simplyhealth, reveals stress as the main cause of short and long-term absences, with a shocking 79% of absences being stress-related over the last year. This underscores the urgent need to address stress within our workplaces.


The Survey showed the main causes of employee stress include:

  • Workloads and volume of work.
  • Non-work factors – such as relationship or family issues.
  • Management styles.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


Identifying the Signs


Recognising the signs of stress in employees is crucial for early intervention. Changes in their behaviour or performance may include:


  • Declining productivity
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Loss of motivation or commitment
  • Lapses in memory
  • Withdrawal
  • Arriving late to work
  • Criticism of others
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Tiredness
  • Nervous stumbling of speech or fidgeting
  • Tension headaches


These uncharacteristic changes can indicate underlying stressors. By remaining vigilant and engaging in empathetic conversations, Managers can provide vital support to their teams.


Navigating Pressure vs. Stress


While a certain level of pressure can enhance performance, excessive pressure can lead to harmful stress levels. Organisations must strike a balance and ensure that workloads, management styles, and external factors do not contribute to overwhelming stress among employees.


Legal Obligations and Proactive Measures


Employers have a legal duty to safeguard their employees' health and well-being, including protecting them from stress at work. However, addressing stress should not be solely reactionary. Proactive measures, such as risk assessments and stress audits, training for Managers, and fostering a supportive work culture, are essential for prevention and early intervention.


Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.



Supporting Employees Holistically


Recognising that personal factors can influence stress levels, employers must treat employees as individuals and provide support to help them balance work and personal responsibilities. Additionally, investing in resources like counselling services and employee assistance programs can offer vital support to those in need.


The Role of Managers


Line Managers play a pivotal role in identifying and addressing stress among their team members. However, they require adequate training and support to fulfil this responsibility effectively. Empowering Managers to have open and supportive conversations with their teams is key to creating a resilient and healthy work environment.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Management Standards guide employers on how to identify and manage the causes of work-related stress. The HSE lists 6 main areas of work design which can affect stress levels, and which need to be managed properly:


  • Demands: for example, workload and the working environment.
  • Control: for example, how much say someone has over their job.
  • Support: for example, the level of supervision and resources available to do the job.
  • Relationships: for example, promoting positive working to help prevent conflict.
  • Role: for example, making sure people understand their role and how it fits in the organisation.
  • Change: for example, how organisational change is managed and communicated.



Recommendations for Employers


Senior leaders must champion workplace health and well-being initiatives, embedding them into the organisation's culture. Providing training for Line Managers, offering early access to occupational health support, and tailoring policies to organisational and employee needs are critical steps toward promoting mental well-being.


Building a Resilient Workplace


As we navigate Stress Awareness Month 2024, let's commit to prioritising mental health and well-being in the workplace. By fostering a culture of openness, providing support to those in need, and implementing proactive measures to mitigate stress, we can create environments where employees thrive both personally and professionally. Let's ensure that mental health remains a top priority year-round.


More from Team Talks...

TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and its toll on mental health continue to pose significant challenges. Despite our awareness of these issues, the separation of mental and physical health remains prevalent. It is Stress Awareness Month this April, a timely reminder to confront these challenges head-on and foster a culture of open dialogue surrounding mental health in the workplace.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has exposed a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. Compromised safety gear poses serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

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TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

Monday  25th March, 2024

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. Silicosis, an incurable lung disease caused by inhaling Crystalline Silica particles (a mineral found in stone), poses a severe threat to the health and well-being of those in the construction sector. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.


According to recent reports from the Royal Brompton Hospital, at least 3 confirmed cases of silicosis have been identified, signalling a disturbing development in workplace health hazards. This revelation comes just weeks after a Government Minister denied in Parliament the prevalence of Silicosis cases in the UK, highlighting the urgency of addressing this issue and misinformation about the deadly disease.


The danger lies in the handling of engineered stone worktops, so people who manufacture, fit, and demolish kitchens are at higher risk. This is because inhaling the dust is what makes it deadly. Dust can be produced when the engineered stone worktops are cut, drilled, demolished, sanded, shovelled, or swept.

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


Despite the ban of engineered stone in Australia due to widespread exposure and emergency regulatory actions in the United States, the UK has seen a significant surge in the use of engineered stone, particularly in kitchens, with a 75% increase reported in 2020 alone.


BOHS, renowned for its expertise in occupational health, emphasises the importance of implementing effective dust control measures to mitigate exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS). Water suppression of dust and other standard controls can significantly reduce the risk of Silicosis. However, proper implementation of these measures is essential as Silicosis is incurable, the damage cannot be reversed but can quite easily be prevented. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and increased risk of Tuberculosis and Lung Cancer. There is also a risk of developing Kidney Disease and Arthritis (and other related diseases).


BOHS President, Alex Wilson, underscores the need for heightened awareness and medical surveillance within the engineered stone industry:


Sadly, there is reasonable probability that there are more cases that have not been detected or reported. Accurate diagnosis of Silicosis is difficult, and it can easily mistaken for a more common complaint, Sarcoidosis, for example. BOHS President, Alex Wilson


Wilson stresses the importance of seeking expert advice from occupational safety specialists to ensure adequate protection for workers.


Professor Kevin Bampton, BOHS Chief Executive, reinforces the Society's commitment to strengthening guidance provided by regulatory bodies like the Health and Safety Executive. By advocating for effective controls and promoting awareness of workplace risks, BOHS aims to prevent future cases of Silicosis and uphold the health and safety of workers in the construction industry.


In addition to the risks associated with RCS exposure, concerns regarding metal additives and resin toxicity in engineered stone further increase the need for comprehensive safety measures.


As the UK continues to grapple with the rising prevalence of Silicosis, proactive measures, education, and legislative support are crucial in safeguarding the well-being of workers and preventing needless suffering and loss of life. We must prioritise the protection of workers and ensure that no life is needlessly endangered in the pursuit of progress and productivity.

TEAM Safety Services Ltd. Dust Awareness eLearning 


As a trusted provider of occupational health and safety solutions, TEAM Safety Services is committed to empowering organisations with the knowledge and tools they need to promote a culture of safety and well-being.


Our Dust Awareness eLearning course allows workers and employers alike to take proactive steps to protect themselves and others from the hazards of dust exposure. Through interactive modules, learners will find out about the hidden dangers of dust, different types of dust they may encounter at work, like Crystalline Silica, Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), and the harmful impact of dust on health. Learners will gain insight into the symptoms of Silicosis, the importance of early detection, and the long-term consequences of exposure.


With comprehensive training and the implementation of effective dust control measures, we can mitigate the threat of Silicosis and create a healthier, safer workplace for all.


Use the discount code '24for2024' at checkout for 24% off all eLearning Courses


More from Team Talks...

TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and its toll on mental health continue to pose significant challenges. Despite our awareness of these issues, the separation of mental and physical health remains prevalent. It is Stress Awareness Month this April, a timely reminder to confront these challenges head-on and foster a culture of open dialogue surrounding mental health in the workplace.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has exposed a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. Compromised safety gear poses serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

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Discover Our Wide Range of eLearning Courses

Our eLearning courses are approved by the world's largest health and safety organisation, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

We Are Fully Accredited.

Our industry-leading professional accreditations give you the reassurance you need to know you are getting the best advice available.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.
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TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Unveiling Hidden Dangers: The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Monday  19th February, 2024

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has sounded a resounding alarm, exposing a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. The implications of these findings are nothing short of alarming, as compromised safety gear remains accessible in the market, posing serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

 

The Alarming Findings

 

Between December 2022 and December 2023, the BSIF conducted tests on 123 non-member products, evaluating their compliance with standards and adherence to advertised performance. Shockingly, only 21% (26 products) proved to be fully compliant, leaving a staggering 79% (97 products) that failed to meet regulatory criteria. These substandard products, still available in the market, pose significant risks to unsuspecting users.


Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


Safety Deficiencies Unveiled

 

The failed products showcased a spectrum of critical safety deficiencies, each with the potential to compromise the well-being of users. Here are some examples of PPE products that were tested. 

 

One product which was purchased from an online retailer was a Flame Retardant Parka. During rigorous flame spread testing, the outer protective layer burnt through, exposing the inner layer, which then caught fire. This resulted in the coat being completely consumed by flames. The Parka also lacked correct documentation and markings in line with PPE Regulation requirements. 

 

A pair of safety boots were also purchased and tested from the same retailer. The safety boots failed toe cap compression tests and were over 10 years old. They were supplied with outdated certifications and were not correctly marked or documented, leaving wearers vulnerable to foot injuries. 

 

A pair of safety spectacles were acquired from a high street retailer, which failed an impact resistance test. The lenses cracked and broke when struck by a projectile. The spectacles also lacked markings and the required documentation. Despite the high street retailer’s promises to remove the product from sale, it was still available for over two months after.

 

Protective gloves from a high street retailer were also tested against abrasion and failed, as well as a Respiratory Protective Mask (FFP3) purchased from a PPE distributor, which only performed at half of the required level during filter penetration tests against contaminants. 

 

These deficiencies have the potential to lead to accidents causing life-long consequences. 



Grave Concerns


The non-member PPE product test result findings are in severe contrast to the results from testing products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers. Of the 348 tests BSIF completed on products from Registered Safety Suppliers between December 2022 and December 2023, 91% (315 products) passed instantly. Of the 9% (33 products) which initially fell short, issues found in the tests were promptly addressed and rectified.

 

Alan Murray, BSIF CEO, has warned that unsuspecting users often place their trust in compromised products, putting their safety at risk. Alan Murray calls for the critical need for buyers and specifiers to thoroughly review their procurement processes and implement stringent measures to ensure they receive PPE that is demonstrably fit for purpose.

 

“Checking for the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier shield is the easiest way to ensure you only deal with compliant, competent, and trustworthy suppliers. Remember, anyone can sell safety, but you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone; always check for the shield.” Alan Murray, BSIF CEO


In Conclusion


The BSIF's stark warning serves as a wake-up call for all stakeholders in the safety industry. TEAM Safety Services echoes the urgency of implementing stringent measures in PPE procurement to ensure the safety and well-being of users. By prioritising compliance and partnering with BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers, we can collectively contribute to a safer work environment and protect individuals from the hidden dangers posed by substandard personal protective equipment.



More from Team Talks...

TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and its toll on mental health continue to pose significant challenges. Despite our awareness of these issues, the separation of mental and physical health remains prevalent. It is Stress Awareness Month this April, a timely reminder to confront these challenges head-on and foster a culture of open dialogue surrounding mental health in the workplace.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Stress Awareness Month 2024 – Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing

TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the UK kitchen refurbishment industry: the rise of Silicosis among younger workers handling engineered stone worktops. The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) is now urging immediate action to prevent further cases and safeguard the lives of workers.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Urgent Action Needed to Combat Rising Cases of Silicosis

TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has exposed a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. Compromised safety gear poses serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

Read 
TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Subscribe for updates

Sign up to recieve news, training and advice straight to your inbox

Discover Our Wide Range of eLearning Courses

Our eLearning courses are approved by the world's largest health and safety organisation, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

We Are Fully Accredited.

Our industry-leading professional accreditations give you the reassurance you need to know you are getting the best advice available.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.
citb logo
UKATA logo

10 Safety Resolutions Every Company Should Embrace in 2024