As we reach the end of 2021, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a government agency which encourages, regulates and enforces good health, safety and welfare in the work place has published some illuminating new findings. It has revealed the top work-related injuries and illnesses which affected workers during the last 12 months, and gives you the ammunition you need to work out which risks to mitigate for the year to come.
While the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact working conditions across the country, many risks to health and safety were less visible to the naked eye, requiring more care and attention from employers to the mental well-being of their workers.
Mental health tops the list
One of the prime factors driving injury in the workplace during 2021 was related to mental health. According to the HSE’s 2021 report, 1.7 million workers were reported as suffering from work-related illnesses, with half of these cases related to stress, depression and anxiety alone. This mental health epidemic comes at a time when 14.1 per cent of all UK workers claim to be experiencing some form of mental health problem in their lives, according to statistics compiled by CV Library.
Of those reporting having mental health problems, 89 per cent claimed their problems have an impact on their working life. Half of respondents went as far as to say they considered quitting their job altogether, due to the impact mental health problems were having on their working life.
This suggests that urgent attention is needed from employers to ensure no worker is left behind or has to tackle their mental health problems alone. That’s why Hawksafe provides Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses, which are aimed at professionals whose responsibilities include spotting mental health requirements in the workplace and how to best provide assistance.
COVID-19 continues to loom over workplaces
As Christmas 2021 nears, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to impact the health and wellbeing of workers, according to HSE. As a new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has just been identified, the potential for further disruption to health and safety remains a significant risk for employers to prepare for in 2022. According to HSE, 93,000 workers self-reported themselves catching COVID-19 at work. 53,000 of those who caught it at work operated in human health and social work.
Relating back to the mental health issues afflicting businesses, HSE found a direct link between the COVID-19 pandemic and the mental health of employees. They reported that 645,000 workers felt their work-related illnesses were either caused or made worse by the pandemic. As many as 70 per cent of these cases were to do with cases of stress, depression and anxiety. As a result, the pandemic cannot be viewed in isolation, but a key factor which impacts other aspects of a worker’s well-being, other than the immediate health concerns COVID-19 already poses.
A clear trend
While HSE admitted to problems in collecting data owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, a direct link between deteriorating mental health of workers and the continuation of the pandemic in 2021 clearly exists. Not only must employers strive to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading through their workforce by ensuring exposure is minimised. They must also know how to spot the signs that workers might be experiencing some form of mental health-related issue, whether that is related to the pandemic itself or some other issue.
Hawksafe provides Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses designed to help businesses act quickly in spotting these issues when they arise, and how to prevent them impacting the wellbeing of their staff down the road. For information about working safely during the pandemic, check out our update on the latest HSE guidance regarding COVID-19, as this can help give you the information you need to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your place of work.
With tools such as these, not only could you be in a better position to limit the spread of this disease, but also ensure your workers’ mental health needs are being met during this difficult time.
For more information about training courses we provide, both in classrooms and online, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Hawksafe today.