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Menopause at Work: Risk Assessments, Policies & Guidelines

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Menopause at Work

Overview

Menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t menstruated in 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant naturally. It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, but can develop before or after this age range.

Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. For most women, medical treatment isn’t needed for menopause.

Let’s start with why menopause is relevant in the workplace.

100% of women will go through menopause but that’s nothing new. What has changed is women’s role in the UK workforce.

Women currently comprise nearly half the UK workforce and the number of older UK women in employment has been rising for a number of years alongside the rising retirement age.

As a result of this more women are experiencing menopause whilst working. Moreover, growth in female leadership means the number of women in senior roles is rising and will continue to do so.

So, menopause is more relevant in the workplace today than it was even 20 years ago because women are working longer and they’re working in more senior positions too. The menopause symptoms women will experience can affect performance at work and impact relationships with managers, colleagues and clients.

Symptoms include poor memory and concentration resulting in an inability to recall facts, figures and names leading to a loss of confidence with colleagues and clients. Hot flushes aren’t just uncomfortable they’re embarrassing too. How would you feel about leading an internal meeting or pitching to clients when you’re at risk of visibly breaking into a sweat every 30 minutes?

The good news is with the right support and access to balanced expert information women can successfully learn to manage symptoms at work and at home too.

What can you do as an employer?

Start by reviewing the occupational health and wellbeing documentation you may have in place. If you require this documentation, please contact us.

  • Look at completing a risk assessment for the individual and consider the specific needs of menopausal women with regards to temperature, ventilation, toilet facilities and access to chilled drinking water when they’re in the office, travelling for business or working off site.
  • Consider the formal policies and guidelines you currently have in place with regards to topics like managing stress and mental health and how can they be adapted to incorporate the needs of your female employees experiencing menopause symptoms?
  • Or would it be more appropriate for your organisation to introduce a menopause policy and guidelines as part of your wider health and wellbeing agenda. It may be beneficial to produce separate guidance to meet the differing needs of staff and managers.

Updating your occupational health and wellbeing documentation is just one way your organisation can support female employees through menopause.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact us.

Alternatively, contact hello@talkingmenopause.co.uk to discuss the range of solutions available to your organisation to minimise the impact of menopause in the workplace.

5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day

5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day

As the number of COVID-19 cases start to fall and lockdown is eased across the country, it is more important to be aware of protecting ourselves and others from illness and do all we can to prevent the spread of germs.

Many of the places that we may visit on a daily basis try to promote cleanliness to ensure customers and employees are in a safe environment.

Here are 5 of the Dirtiest Public Places We may Go to Every Day!

Offices

The majority of offices have cleaners who regularly wipe down all the surfaces and remove visible dirt. However, offices can quickly become a hub to a lot of bacteria, you’d be surprised how much is lurking all around your workspace each day. Encourage staff to use antibacterial wipes and sprays to clean their work areas more frequently. Request that they limit sharing stationery.

5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day

Estimated number of germs 5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day

Public Transport

Most of us have to use public transport each day to commute to work. Unfortunately, trains and buses are often tightly packed spaces during the rush hour, which is an environment that bacteria thrive in. With 2 million people on average riding the tube every day, it’s safe to say that your daily commute is one of the places you’re most at risk of coming into contact with harmful bacteria. Ensure that you carry antibacterial gel and always wear a face covering.

Public Bathrooms
5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day

5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day

Using public bathrooms is often unavoidable, however, it’s important that you make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitiser after using them. Surprisingly, however, there are many things you’ll come into direct contact with each day that contains far more bacteria than a toilet seat. Keeping hands clean is really important. Be mindful of what you touch or pick up.

Restaurants

Visiting a restaurant is often an experience we consider to be luxurious, however, once seeing how much bacteria can be harboured in these spaces, you might reconsider! From the high chairs to the menus, unfortunately, these are environments where bacteria can spread rapidly. With COVID-19 there are new procedures in place, so ordering from your mobile and paying with a card is becoming the norm.

Supermarkets

It is true that the spaces where we buy our food and other essential items is a breeding ground for bacteria. Once returning home, you should thoroughly wash any fresh food you have bought and wipe down any packets, tins and packing to remove any bacteria you might have brought back with you. Only pick up items in a supermarket you intend to buy. It is now frowned upon to pick things up and return them to the shelf.

Hand Washing

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

• washing your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
• avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
• avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
• cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
• clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

Remember to look at the previous blogs for advice. They may be of benefit. Please feel free to forward our blogs onto your contacts, friends and family.

Remember to stay safe and be compliant!

Contact us should you wish to find out more.

Written with Guest Blogger Katherine Myers from https://elite-sec.com/ 

 

Actions to Take in the Event of a Coronavirus Outbreak at Work

Actions to Take in the Event of a Coronavirus Outbreak at Work

Actions to Take in the Event of a Coronavirus Outbreak at Work

Official Government guidance for England recommends that, as part of the risk management, employers should ensure they have an up-to-date plan in the event of an outbreak.

Guidance from the British Standards Institution recommends that organisations “should establish and communicate processes to manage suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19”.

In the event of an employee (or other stakeholder) becoming unwell, organisations should ensure they have a procedure for immediate action that:

• requires any person becoming unwell to be treated as a potential Covid-19 case
• enables the person that is unwell to be isolated while awaiting first-aid assistance, transport home or assistance from medical professionals
• provides appropriate personal protective equipment to first-aid personnel and a face mask to the person who is unwell (taking account of any respiratory issues)
• ensures first-aid personnel are aware of procedures to follow as detailed by the Health and Safety Executive
• enables the person to return home (where medical assistance is not required) avoiding the use of public transport (eg collection by family member)
• encourages the staff member to seek a Covid-19 test and then inform the employer of the result of that test.

Where there is a known or suspected case, the organisation should put into action the necessary cleaning requirements as described in official Government/home nation guidance, including disposal of items of waste.

The BSI guide recommends that where a suspected or confirmed case is known, employers should “establish if an affected worker has been in close contact with other workers (eg performing work activities without physical distancing in a team or pair)”.

This will fall in line with requirements under the various UK test and trace regimes, which should form part of any process and planning for suspected or confirmed cases.

The planning should also include a process to determine if the case (when confirmed) requires reporting under RIDDOR as a work-related exposure.

If there is more than one case of Covid-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team to report the suspected outbreak.

Remember to look at the previous blogs for advice. They may be of benefit. Please feel free to forward our blogs onto your contacts, friends and family.

Remember to stay safe and be compliant!

Contact us should you wish to find out more.

 

Spot inspections by HSE to ensure workplaces are Covid-secure

Spot inspections by HSE to ensure workplaces are Covid-secure

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is currently carrying out spot inspections in cities and towns where there are coronavirus outbreaks, to check that businesses are Covid-secure.

An inspection process involves checking that businesses are aware of the guidance, and advising where necessary on improvements needed to ensure the workplace is Covid-secure. Most recently, HSE conducted spot inspections on businesses in Bradford.

Working with other public local and national government authorities, inspectors are currently out and about visiting businesses, putting employers on the spot and checking that they are complying with the latest guidance.

Here are some practical steps that businesses can take to be Covid-secure before spot inspections are carried out by the HSE to ensure workplaces are Covid-secure:

Practical steps

  • Step 1: Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment
  • Step 2: Develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures
  • Step 3: Maintain 2m social distancing where possible
  • Step 4: Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk.

HSE has been utilising a number of different ways to gather intelligence and reach out to businesses with a combination of site visits, phone calls and through collection of supporting visual evidence.

Some of the most common issues that HSE and local authority inspectors are finding, across the country, include failing to:

  • provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing
  • introduce an adequate cleaning regime — particularly at busy times of the day
  • provide access to welfare facilities to allow employees to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap.

You have an absolute legal duty to monitor, maintain and review all matters and arrangements of health and safety. By adhering to the Audit requirement and process an Organisation will be able to demonstrate that health and safety is pro-actively managed in accordance with legislative, Insurers and Fire Department requirements.

An Audit will also act as a suitable defence in a court of law, should either Civil or Criminal proceedings be instigated.

Contact us for further information.

Keep Safe!

 

 

Asthma and face coverings — understanding the exemptions!

PPE

Face coverings have become mandatory in some shops and supermarkets in England. In terms of the law, in England, people are required to wear face coverings:

  • on public transport
  • in airports, rail and tram stations, ports, bus and coach stations and terminals
  • in shops and supermarkets
  • at indoor shopping centres
  • in banks, building societies and post offices.

For members of the public, from 8 August the places where you will have to wear a face covering will be expanded to include:

  • funeral directors
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites.
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers – other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage parlours
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • place of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centres
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • veterinary services.
  • auction houses

However, people with mental or physical illnesses or disabilities are exempt from the requirements — if wearing a face covering makes it difficult to breathe for example, such as in the case of respiratory conditions like asthma.

Asthma and Face Coverings – Understanding the Exemptions! A downloadable exemption card has been produced for people to show on their phones or elsewhere to explain why they’re not wearing a mask. However, people are not obliged by law to show the card if they are challenged on face masks.

The reason for using face coverings.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. This is why social distancing, regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes is so important in controlling the spread of the virus.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

Face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home. If you have recent onset of any of the most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

How to wear a face covering.

A face covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

When wearing a face covering you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
  • avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession (for example, when leaving and entering shops on a high street)

When removing a face covering:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not give it to someone else to use
  • if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

Contact us for further information.