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Workplace health, safety and wellbeing

All employees are entitled to work in a safe environment where risks to their health are properly controlled. This includes adequate welfare facilities such as toilets, access to drinking water and adequate ventilation.

Organisations are increasingly aware that health, safety and wellbeing is more than just the absence of work-related disease or injury. There is also an emphasis on achieving physical, mental and social contentment amongst staff.

Find more resources about taking breaks at work, keeping hydrated and having access to nutritional food here.

The organisation…

  • has access to competent advice on health and safety, including advice on work related violence reduction
  • has access to competent advice on occupational health
  • provides or signposts staff to sources of specialist mental health support and counselling
  • has systems in place to ensure that staff are able to self-refer for occupational health and mental health advice/support and able to attend in working hours
  • has a health and safety policy which clearly identifies responsibilities for health and safety management and reporting mechanisms. The policy is communicated to all staff
  • identifies and implements the health and safety and wellbeing training needs of all managers and staff
  • has a health and safety management system in place including monitoring systems to assess the effectiveness of their control measures including assessing incident report data, sickness absence data and proactive inspections and audits
  • consults with employees on health and safety matters. In organisations where the RCN is recognised, this should be via recognised trade union safety representatives. Where the RCN is not recognised this should be via employees directly or an elected representative of employee safety
  • ensures that staff have access to welfare facilities including rest rooms, locker, and showers
  • has a strategy and policy on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of staff which is developed with staff and their representatives
  • identifies, assesses, and puts control measures in place for all health and safety risks to nursing staff including (but not limited to): work-related stress (following HSE’s stress management standards approach), work-related violence, third-party harassment, lone working, biological hazards (such as sharps injuries), dermatitis, slips and trips, chemical hazards (including cytotoxic drugs and cleaning chemicals), moving and handling/ergonomic risks (patient handling, postural risks and use of display screen equipment/mobile devices), driving, home working,  environmental issues including asbestos exposure, temperatures, ventilation, and lighting and risk assessments of new an expectant mothers or young workers are in place.
  • takes a holistic view on health and safety risks and wellbeing issues related to protected characteristics including (but not limited to) age, gender, ethnicity and disability. This includes the interface between the menopause and work; domestic abuse; reasonable adjustments; age related risks to workers’ health and safety and third-party harassment.
  • recognises the consequences of poor staffing levels and the impact on the physical and physiological health of nursing staff is assessed and puts measures in place to mitigate risks.

At a department/unit/team level…

  • policies and risk assessments relating to health and safety and wellbeing are fully implemented
  • staff are clear on department/unit/team level health and safety responsibilities and how to report incidents
  • staff are actively encouraged and supported to report health and safety incidents including near misses and undesired circumstances such as unsafe staffing or lack of equipment
  • staff and managers are supported to attend health and safety and wellbeing related events and training
  • managers consult with staff and their representatives on local issues relating to their health safety and wellbeing
  • managers support local safety representatives to carry out their role and functions as per the regulations
  • there are processes for escalating concerns about health and safety issues through established procedures
  • mechanisms are in place to feedback to staff actions taken following specific incidents and learning that has taken place
  • managers and team leaders take steps to actively support the mental health of their teams and implement organisational wide initiatives at a local level.

Rest, Rehydrate, Refuel

Find resources and posters with information, advice and tips about breaks at work, keeping hydrated and employers' responsibilities.

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Page last updated - 18/11/2021