Steve Ashworth

Focus on welfare

Stephen Ashworth - Health and Safety Services Manager

15 February 2017

Keeping your employees safe is no longer enough, welfare is now much more of a concern across the industry. Many companies go much further than the bare minimum of normal provision on site.‌

Examples of what has stood out amongst the 2016 Health and Safety Award winners were;

  • Initiatives making working areas much more enjoyable for employees.
  • Scrapping standard welfare units with unhealthy food options, in favour of providing kitchen areas with dining rooms and separate areas for employees to relax in their breaks.
  • A revolutionary detector of hand arm vibrations that currently affect 300,000 workers across the UK.


Why make changes?

  • In 2014/15 the top work related illnesses were related to; stress, depression and anxiety. Work related pressures are often a cause or major contributor.
  • Site management roles are often highly stressed with a high sickness rate compared to other roles.
  • It is widely accepted that rather than a short term knee jerk reaction to health, looking at employee’s long term welfare is much more effective. 
  • HSE found one of the leading causes of occupational asthma was exposure to isocyanates, chemicals which can be found in paints that are used in vehicle repairs. A four-year project involving representatives from across the vehicle repair industry and HSE identified new, practical ways of training workers to lower exposure levels.


What can you do?

Speak to your employees and learn about what they think works well on site, but also ask for their ideas on what could be improved. You could introduce some quick wins but also put plans in place for longer-term initiatives. If everyone on site has some responsibility for welfare then hopefully you will get some good engagement and great ideas.