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Workplace

70% of workers feel optimistic about returning to the workplace

As pubs, shops and other workplaces re-open, the success of the vaccine rollout has helped workers feel much more optimistic about their return to work than they were following November’s lockdown, according to Aviva’s research of more than 2,000 employed adults across the UK.

Aviva’s third Employee Back to Work Index shows that 71% of workers surveyed agreed that the rollout of the vaccine made them optimistic about returning to work, compared with 50% after November’s lockdown who said that news of a vaccine gave them optimism about returning to work. Two-thirds (64%) of employees surveyed said the vaccine will make them feel safer at work.

Another piece in the puzzle of opening up safely is regular testing of workers for Covid-19. Aviva’s research shows that three-quarters (75%) of employees would feel comfortable to be tested for Covid-19 in order to work. Only 7% of employees said they would be uncomfortable with such a requirement.

Aviva’s Employee Back to Work Index comes as the UK takes its next steps out of lockdown, and captures the attitudes of full-time or part-time employed adults working in a wide variety of industry sectors across the UK on their feelings about their health and safety in the workplace.

Returning to the workplace – safely
Businesses have had to adapt at pace in the face of continually changing Covid restrictions. In some instances, this will mean that operations have fundamentally changed, including the role of employees in carrying out their duties. Aviva’s survey found that 23% of employees surveyed said their job had changed as a result of new business operations due to Covid, but that they were not offered any training on their new role, compared to 11% who said their job had changed and they had been offered training.

Likewise, employees who have been absent from the workplace since the beginning of the January lockdown could benefit from refresher training. Overall, 60% of employees surveyed who had been off during previous lockdowns said that their employer had not offered them refresher training to ensure they are able to continue to do their job safely.

Homeworking
Working from home looks set to stay for many employees. Of those employees surveyed that are currently working from home, 40% said that after lockdown restrictions have ended, they will split their time between home and their usual workplace, while 30% said their employer has told staff that they should continue to work from home. Just one-in-four (24%) said their employer expects all employees to return to the office on a permanent basis after pandemic restrictions ease.

Only 52% of employees surveyed who have been working from home said their employer had taken steps to ensure their home office is set up safely to prevent injury or strain. However, 40% of employees said their employer had not taken any steps to make their workstation safe, potentially putting them at unnecessary risk of injury. Employers should ask employees to complete a homeworking assessment and if the employee is likely to continue working at home into the longer term, then more rigorous assessments might be required.

Cyber risk not being addressed
Working from home has also increased the risk of a cyber attack. As Covid forced businesses to work remotely and – increasingly, digitally – cyber attacks increased, with 46% of UK businesses reporting a cyber breach or attack in 2020. However, Aviva’s survey found that just under half (48%) of employees working from home said their employer did not take any steps to reduce their cyber risk.

What risks do you face as you come out of lockdown?
Aviva asked workers what risks they believe they face as they come out of successive lockdowns. Workers could choose multiple responses. While it is positive to see the gradual increase in the proportion of workers saying ‘there is no biggest risk’ (now at 26%), there are still a number of workers who are concerned about Covid-19, and a significant and growing number of workers who say lockdown has impacted their mental health.

Chris Andrews, Director of Aviva Risk Management Solutions, said: “The vaccine rollout has had an enormous benefit to employee confidence in returning safely to the workplace. Our research found that 80% of employees who have been working or furloughed feel confident their workplace is safe and that their employer has standards that they meet to keep employees and the public safe. This is a significant, positive step in our journey back to working normally.

“There are, however, a number of risks that businesses must address to ensure that the return to the workplace is wholly successful. Training for employees who have been off work for some time is essential to reduce the chance of injury upon return. Likewise, those employees whose jobs have changed as their business has adapted to Covid restrictions should also receive training on their new ways of working. And if working from home becomes the norm, employers need to do more work to ensure their employees are safe at home and have the appropriate tools and environment to work effectively.

“Businesses also really need to consider how they can protect their organisation from cyber attacks while their employees work from home. Cyber attacks come in many forms, and increasingly target employees through phishing and social engineering fraud. It’s clear from our research that more needs to be done to help employees understand and identify the various forms of cyber attacks while working from home to protect the business.”

Quarter of British accidents go unreported

New research by the Accident Advice Helpline has found that a quarter of employees have had an accident at work, yet one in six people wouldn’t report a potential hazard if they saw one.

The figures also revealed that nearly 23% of people polled wouldn’t know who to report a potential hazard to, meaning broken machinery, trailing wired and uneven floor often get left unfixed and unattended.

Out of 2,014 people polled, a third claimed they don’t have time to worry about hazards in the workplace, and 24% said they would ignore things like frayed electrical cords, spills or blocked fire exits, assuming it wouldn’t directly affect them.

In the event of an accident happening at work, a fifth said they would not know where to go due to lack of communication and training.

David Carter, spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline, said: “Accidents at work can easily be avoided if hazards are reported as soon as they are spotted and the more people who report it the better.

“When in a work environment it’s incredibly important to look out for one another to ensure injuries don’t happen.”

A quarter of those polled say they don’t think it is their responsibility to report a hazard even if it could be potentially dangerous, while just under one in 10 employees claim they have been told not to report a hazard by someone else.

Older generations are more likely to report something they thought was dangerous – with 93 per cent of 35 to 54 year-olds likely to say something compared to 76% of 16 to 24 year-olds.
Just under half admit they see various safety issues on a daily basis which have been around for a while, with 63%t saying they could be dangerous.

The most common hazards reported are a lack of safety around machinery, trailing wires, uneven flooring and the wrong equipment being used for tasks.

A quarter of workers say there are trailing wires in the workplace on a regular basis, while 16% work in an environment where machinery isn’t being used safely, with 17% often see others not wearing the appropriate health and safety protection when they should be.

A fifth of people have even witnessed a hazard within the workplace that has been intentionally masked or ignored.

www.accidentadvicehelpline.co.uk

Crises, CCTV and Cyber Crime top the total security summit

The global landscape has experienced a rather monumental change over the last year, with security being more relevant than ever as we go into 2017.

The first Total Security Summit of the year is determined to address these issues and uncertainties in a bespoke two-day event for security professionals.

Meet, share, connect and debate business relevant to your current and future projects with matchmade face-to-face meetings, experience a day of dining, drinks and discussion as you network with fellow business professionals and attend seminars covering a range of relevant topics.

Reaching a landmark age in political global challenges and uncertainties, it’s vital to prepare for the future, protecting crowded areas, addressing terror threats and discussing counter-terrorism is Dr Anna Maria Brudenell, Lecturer in Military and Security Studies,
Cranfield Defence and Security for the first seminar on Global Security Strategy.

As terror threats continue to rise and evolve without warning, discussing and understanding the implications is crucial to develop your security in a crisis. Chris Phillips, Managing Director, International Protect and Prepare Security Office (IPPSO) is presenting seminar 2 on Crisis Management and Communications

Video surveillance is being used in greater quantity and with higher quality expectations, with Britain among the leaders in CCTV operation, but are the benefits worth the cost? With few resources and increasing legal parameters, Simon Lambert, Independent CCTV Consultants, Lambert Associates is discussing  CCTV and Video Surveillance in seminar 3.

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John Marsden, Head of Fraud, Equifax, is discussing how to identify and tackle theft as it happens, assessing risk, detecting threats and ensuring on-going training in Seminar 4: Keeping your Business’ Cash and Assets Safe and Secure

Going into your second day, and following morning networking, James Willison, Founder, Unified Security Ltd goes digital. As our dependency on technology grows, many companies are more vulnerable than ever, between data and privacy risks to ransomware, hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and businesses need to adapt quickly for Seminar 5 on Cyber Crime – the United Security Response.

With a continuing rise in companies at risk of fraud, from physical fraud to high level hacking, security needs to be tight across the board, and the final seminar before more discussion and networking addresses these fears. Fraud Prevention with David Lee, Fraud Prevention Manager, Transport for London sees the summit almost to a close.

Taking place between the 13-14 March at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, this year’s Total Security Summit is the industry go-to for professionals.

To secure a complimentary delegate place at either of the two annual Total Security Summit events, call Liz Cowell on 01992 374 072 or email l.cowell@forumevents.co.uk.

Or, to attend either event as a supplier, call Nick Stannard on 01992 374 092 or email n.stannard@formumevents.co.uk.

For more information, visit www.totalsecuritysummit.co.uk.

IOSH’s ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign “of tremendous value”…

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign has been declared as a ‘good practice solution’ to combatting occupational cancer on the ‘Roadmap on Carcinogens’ initiative.

Developed as a voluntary action scheme aiming to deliver good practice between businesses across the continent to decrease exposure to ‘cancer-causing substances’ in the workplace, the Roadmap was created by six European  organisations: BusinessEurope;  the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection;  the European Commission; the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work; the European Trade Union Confederation; and the Netherlands Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

All parties involved have signed a covenant to keep the prevention of work-related cancer a priority until the year 2019.

Focal Point manager of the Netherlands, TNO, Jos de Lange commented: “IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign is of tremendous value to the Roadmap on Carcinogens – it offers various solutions that are both well-founded and practical to apply in everyday workplaces, including an international action plan, free materials to raise awareness about occupational cancer, and the option for workers and employers to consult an expert. With this campaign, there is no excuse not to become active.” 

According to research, it is predicted that more than 100,000 European workers die every year as a result of exposure to carcinogens at work.

 

To find out more about the Roadmap on Carcinogens, click here

You can also find out more about the ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign by clicking here

Workplace wellness ‘shifting up the boardroom agenda’…

A recent White Paper published by the world’s leading global real estate advisor, CBRE, has revealed the five key trends that are driving wellness in the workplace and pushing it higher up the corporate agenda.

From allowing ‘greater flexibility’ to managing stress levels, theWellness In The Workplace: Unlocking Future Performancereport claims these trends are producing a ‘seismic shift’ in the workplace. By the year 2040, the CBRE predicts the workplace will drastically change; characterised by autonomy and ‘greater choice’ for employees. Furthermore, technological and societal changes will shift the approach individuals and organisations will take regarding wellbeing, health and wellness becoming a priority.

 

Access the full report here

 

Guest Blog, Simon Field: Loud noises and preventing damage in the workplace…

When it comes to facilities management, it is not just the health and safety of your employees that you have to worry about, you also need to protect contractors and visitors.

Due to the varied tasks taking place within the facilities management industry, one of the biggest dangers can be exposure to loud noises. Simon Field, a technical specialist at science-based technology company 3M, discusses how a four-step approach can help to keep everyone at your facility safe. 

While the effects may not be immediately obvious, exposure to loud noises can have really harmful – and irreversible – consequences.

Anything from construction work to even lawn mowing could create damaging sound levels and if the correct steps are not taken, it is not only people’s health which is at risk – companies can also face legal action.

One of the most common health issues caused by high levels of sound is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) – which is a completely preventable but incurable condition.

In the past year around 15,000 people have suffered from NIHL caused, or made worse, by work. It is the most commonly reported occupational medical condition in the EU and between 2011 and 2014, NIHL insurance claims increased by 189 per cent.

As well as NIHL, loud noises can also result in tinnitus, which could lead to associated health problems such as insomnia. Safety can also be compromised, as people may not be able to hear warning messages or alarms if noise levels are too loud.

At 3M, we have devised a four-step approach to help companies keep everyone protected from loud noise.  

Detection

The first step in protecting your employees, contractors and visitors is to assess the noise levels to see if there is a problem. Start by asking yourself some straightforward questions such as, do employees need to raise their voices when speaking to each other or is the noise intrusive? If the answer is yes, then the noise levels are likely to be too high. Noise measurements should be conducted in any areas highlighted during your initial assessment. Noise surveys can be carried out in-house or by hiring a consultant.

It’s important to use the results of noise surveys effectively; deciding on noise control methods, re-evaluating risk assessments

and selecting appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Protection

As part of The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, employers are required to eliminate or reduce risks to health and safety from noise at work.

Depending on the level of risk, you should:

  • take action to reduce the noise exposure
  • provide your employees with suitable personal hearing protection

When deciding on hearing protection equipment (HPE), it is crucial to select a product that employees are motivated to wear. If the HPE does not fit correctly or is uncomfortable, the user is less likely to use it properly, which can significantly reduce the level of protection.

The two options available are ear plugs and ear muffs. These products come in different styles to suit a range of tasks, including disposable and reusable.

When deciding on protection, you should ensure that it is effective enough to eliminate risks, but does not leave the worker isolated. You also need to consider the working environment and check that it does not interfere with other PPE.

Training

It’s important to ensure that your workers understand why they need to take care of their hearing and how they can do this. Employers need to provide suitable information, instruction and training covering the noise hazards present, the control measures to be used and the correct use of these, including hearing protection. This could include fitting technique, any maintenance requirements and where equipment should be stored.

Validation

Once you have offered hearing protection to your workers, you then need to be confident that it is protecting them. As everybody is different, it is not a case of one size fits all when it comes to hearing protection, so you need to be sure the equipment is being used correctly.

To help prevent incorrect use, 3M has recently launched its revolutionary E-A-Rfit Dual Ear Validation System. This system takes noise measurements from both inside and outside of the hearing protection, in order to calculate a personal attenuation rating for each employee. The test takes only eight seconds to complete and can be used as part of a robust training programme, showing workers how correctly inserting the right ear plug increases their level of protection.

Following this four-step approach will help employers to feel confident that they are best protecting their workforce from exposure to loud noises.

More information about E-A-Rfit Dual Ear Validation System is available here
If you would like more information on hearing conservation or have questions on other types of PPE, please feel free to give 3M’s H&S helpline a call on 0870 608 0060.
*3M and E-A-Rfit are trademarks of 3M Company.

 

Simon Field has spent the last five years at 3M supporting the personal safety division with technical responsibility in areas of hearing conservation, eye protection, powered respiratory systems and welding protection. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area, along with an IOSH qualification in ‘Noise at Work Risk Assessment and Management’.

eeGeo launches ‘highly detailed’ Smart Workplace solution…

The global 3D mapping company, eeGeo, has announced the launch of its Smart Workplace solution, which will enable businesses to transition to a smart environment through optimising space and resource usage.

eeGeo Smart Workplace is supported across web, mobile and VR platforms, allowing businesses to build personalised 3D representations of real estate with seamless transitioning of interior and exterior mapping. Moreover, the solution claims to deliver a clear ROI twofold by encouraging the ‘collaboration’ between staff and management to report ongoing service and facility issues within the workplace.

CEO and Founder at eeGeo, Ian Hetherington, stated: “We worked with Cisco Systems to develop a highly detailed and dynamic 3D interior map of its customer experience centres (CXC). Our aim was to use this space to its full potential and more importantly enhance visitor interaction and experience at the site.”

He continued: “The result is a perfect example of how location based services can deliver engaging personalised mobile experiences for employees. Cisco is now able to provide a better experience of its venue for visitors before, during and after attending briefings as well as enhancing communication of their product and solution information.”

 

Find out more about Smart Workplace here