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Healthy Living for Learners

Working Environment

  • Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Complete a workstation assessment for employees who use DSE regularly for an hour or more. This considers the positioning and height of the chair, desk, and distance from the DSE. This will help prevent repetitive strain injuries and eyestrain.

  • Air Quality/Temperature

The recommended air temperature for office workers is 20°c or at least 13°c when physical exertion is required. Poor Ventilation and air quality can lead to illness. Ensure air conditioning units have a regular service and are cleaned as recommended to prevent the spread of viruses.

  • Maintain Safe and Clean Work Areas

Ensure all facilities and equipment are clean, safe, well maintained and of a good standard. The use of disinfectant products will help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses, especially where desk/equipment or telephone sharing occurs as viruses can survive on hard surfaces for several days. Hand washing and drying facilities will also help prevent the spread of any germs.

 

Health Promotion

  • Providing Drinking Water

Dehydration reduces basic bodily functions, slows down the brain and leads to tiredness. It is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water a day and as an employer, you can support this by providing filtered water dispensers for all staff to use.

  • Provide Healthy Food and Snacks

Healthy eating should be encouraged, and this can be supported by the choice and portion size of foods that are available in staff cafeterias or vending machines.

Providing a rest room for staff to take a break, eat away from their desk and socialise would be of benefit. This can also be an area to promote healthy living and display educational posters such as healthy eating, mental health support, and sharing nation health campaigns. Notice boards and staff portals can also be utilised.

  • Promote Breaks and Exercise

Support staff to be more physically active by encouraging them to take regular breaks to move and stretch. This is especially important for those who spend long periods of time in front of computers, tills or use machinery/drive. This will help reduce eyestrain and fatigue as well as boosting efficiency and productivity.

Display signage to encourage staff to use the stairs rather than lifts. Sit/stand desks are a useful tool, as are hands free phones or headsets to reduce repetitive strain injuries such as tension neck syndrome.

Host meetings at a different sites or parts of the building and encourage staff to walk there or consider arranging a walking meeting.

Encourage staff to walk, cycle or use another mode of transport involving physical activity to travel part or all their way to and from work. Provide information about walking and cycling routes and encourage them to take short walks during work breaks. Staff could be encouraged to set goals on how far they walk and cycle and to monitor the distances they cover. There could be an in-house competition!

 

Training/CPD/Support

Providing appropriate induction and on-going training and advice to learners/employees on health and well-being topics will educate and provide skills to help look after themselves and their colleagues.

You could consider a rolling schedule of training in topics such as manual handling and first aid, including mental health first aid, drug & alcohol support, debt advice, savings/pensions advice, healthy eating and staff development/CPD days with a focus on health and wellbeing. Most health and wellbeing organisations have speakers who will come into the workplace to give talks/demonstrations.

 

Employee Benefits

  • Exercise

Bike2work. The scheme costs nothing to set up and run. For further information go to bike2workscheme

Discounts for employees at a local leisure centre or gym can be negotiated locally. Further information about how the UK Tax system can help support employees to be active: www.gov.uk/guidance/fitness-at-work.

  • Health Risk Reduction

Risk reduction services and health screenings are available from many organisations such as the NHS and British Heart Foundation. A range of checks and tests are conducted to screen for risks to health. Health insurance for staff is another benefit to health; the cost depends on the number of employees and level of cover required.

  • Eye Tests

Employees are entitled to free eye tests if they use DSE and ask for one. If the employee requires glasses for their DSE use, then these will need to be provided and paid for too. https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/eye-tests.htm

  • Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP)

This is a welfare /counselling type service that can support staff with personal and work-related problems. Most EAP’s offer a free, confidential service for staff so is well worth looking into. The EAPA is the membership association where you find out more information about the service and find a provider https://www.eapa.org.uk

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