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Institution of Occupational Safety and Health

Clinical Articles, Lead Article

Managing heart disease in the workplace

A new online guide to help employers raise awareness about heart disease in their workplaces was launched recently by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

To help sufferers of myocardial infarction (MI) who are still at work or plan to return, the guide offers advice for businesses on how they can promote healthy living among their workforces, and support the rehabilitation of heart disease victims.

IOSH’s Occupational Health Toolkit includes tips on:

• Rehabilitation and how to accommodate someone in work

• Signs and symptoms of someone suffering a heart attack

• Helping employees to lead a healthy lifestyle

• Signposts to the key organisations and sources of information for more help

• Legal advice on employers’ statutory duties on occupational health

StressJane White, IOSH research and information services manager, said: “Our information on heart disease was an essential module to add to the toolkit because heart disease can affect anyone at any time of their life and it’s a duty of employers that they have the health and wellbeing of their employees at the forefront of their priorities”.

“Employers are now more than ever recognising that they have a corporate social responsibility to provide a healthy working environment for their employees.”

She added: “Culturally, women have been the ones looking for the signs of poor health, whereas men tend to talk less about their health and aren’t always as keen to go to a doctor, or seek advice from a health professional”.

“But as the number of men with heart disease and suffering from heart attacks far outweighs women, businesses should be tailoring their wellbeing strategies to make them more inclusive and accessible. Knowing how to prevent the condition, or spot early signs will make it much easier to live a full life.”

Ms White added: “Work can have a big influence on how active you are, what you eat, and how you deal with stress and mental health issues. Companies can encourage healthy eating and exercise, perhaps by offering annual health checks, introducing corporate discounts for exercise classes and gym membership, or even something as simple and low cost as a lunchtime walking group”.

To help reduce mental health issues, IOSH advises proper training for line managers on spotting the signs of stress in their staff, and managing workloads accordingly. Ms White said: “Anyone working with heart disease might need their day-to-day tasks changing, or time to attend medical appointments, while others who’ve had time off might need a phased return to work to help recovery. Business with good procedures will find it helps with staff retention, reduces lost time and boosts morale, so it’s better all-round”.

For more information, please visit: www.ohtoolkit.co.uk

Published on: July 24, 2012

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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