Occupational Health – A Speciality Worth Fighting For?
Click here to read this great article from Mandy Murphy.
FOHN AGM and Leadership Forum- 1 October, Liverpool
The day will start with a topical discussion then lead into a masterclass on helping you to develop a compelling occupational health and wellbeing strategy (including mental health) and concluding with a thought provoking debate on meeting the challenges of OH in the future.
Social Media and Occupational Health
Social Media is a platform for communication. Its user generated content can be contentious, challenging, or informative. It is an excellent tool to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, and it can be used as a marketing tool to get in touch with prospective clients or connections. It is important to be aware of “Fake News” on these platforms but on the whole they are a useful tool.
There are training courses you can go on to learn the algorithms to get maximum effect, and there are some definite do’s and don’ts. A simple google search looking for LinkedIn or Facebook hints and tips will deliver multiple google links as well as paid for books and courses.
In my view, LinkedIn is the platform to use when wanting to be professional, yet Facebook, the more social family orientated platform, has a very active and professional Occupational Health group page run by Diane Romano Woodward and Carr Barnes. But why mention all of this in today’s blog? Well, this week I have had 2 contacts on LinkedIn which I felt were “inappropriate”.
The first one began with the words “You look pretty…” forgive me, but this is not tinder and I am here to work so why do people think its ok to approach me in this way? Would it be acceptable face to face? Absolutely not, so why do it behind a keyboard?
The second, was a mental health professional, who took umbridge with a statistic my social media team had posted about mental health. Apparently, it was out of date. I approached this person with positivity explaining this and asked for the information to be shared on the original post, after all we all want to know what the evidence shows right? The reply I received was judgemental, opinionated and rude. The poster, although speaking from a place of knowledge (allegedly) immediately lost my respect. How could someone working in Mental Health get it so wrong? Communication is key and talking down to people is not the way to share knowledge, especially on such a sensitive subject. How did I handle this? I blocked the individual. Why? Because I do not want to surround myself with people who are keyboard warriors or trolls, these are what the internet calls people who purposefully go out to cause an argument. I will also use this as a reflective tool to ensure that we use the right statistics.
As I mentioned, there are some do’s and do no’ts on social media, and I plan to share these tips with you on a webinar in the near future. In the meantime, think of these “rules” when posting
- Your comments can be seen by everyone. Even if you post in a closed group, people can still screen shot this and share with others.
- Don’t post something you may regret
- Be professional, if people search for your name, they may also be able to see your Facebook posts. Do you want a peer, colleague or employee reading what you have written?
- Ensure you know how to use the security settings, so you have a closed setting
- Think of the pictures that you may be tagged into; do you want anyone seeing those late night drunken pictures of you? Or maybe the bikini shot your friend took and shared despite you saying no!
- Think of Facebook as being for friends and LinkedIn being for work purposes.
- Don’t just forward posts, it may be fake news. It is always worth checking the source and making sure you are forwarding valid information.
Article by Lyndsey Marchant – FOHN Director
DWP Work and Health Unit consultation – Health is everyone’s business – a public consultation on a range of measures to reduce ill health-related job loss
Seeking views on how employers can best support disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to stay, and thrive, in work.
The consultation is part of the government’s drive to tackle the injustices and barriers in society faced by disabled people, seeking to level the playing field and ensure disabled people have equal life chances.
Please provide your views using the online survey accessed via the links below.
Green Paper link:
FOM – SOM Response to the Government consultation: Health is everyone’s business, proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss.
Coventry University are leading research work on older workers and MSD
Invitation to research:
We are looking for employees over the age of 50 with a chronic musculoskeletal condition (MSD) to take part in a survey. The aim of this research is to identify the strategies that older employees are offered and use to manage their chronic MSDs at the workplace. Your opinion and knowledge as an active member of the ageing workforce can contribute much to the aims of this project.
As a participant in this study, you would be asked to complete an online questionnaire that will last approximately 20 minutes. Your participation is entirely voluntary, and you can opt out at any stage.
Note from the National School of Occupational Health
The National School of Occupational Health underwent a review of its activities in late 2018 which resulted in a set of recommendations for the ongoing development the school including focusing attention on improving occupational medical training and reconfiguration of the NSOH Board. Support and influence for multi-professional education and related membership organisations, such as FOHN, will continue as before and revised strategic objectives will be published in the autumn.
Dame Carol Black becomes a Patron for the FOHN
“Since writing my 2008 Review Working for a Healthier Tomorrow I have become convinced of the potential for Occupational Health Nurses to play a fuller part in the Health and Work agenda and have greater standing in the sector. I believe that the Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing can be instrumental in making this happen, and I am delighted to have become a Patron of the Faculty.” Dame Carol Black
Read Dame Carol Black’s profile here
Ototoxicants – what are they how may they worsen hearing loss in the workplace?
By Satish Lakhiani – Acoustic consultant
It’s well known that hearing damage may be caused by exposure to loud noise, and that the degree of damage is more severe the longer the period of exposure is to noise. What may not be common knowledge is that there is strong evidence that some chemicals (known as ototoxicants) including medicinal drugs could cause hearing loss or imbalance when exposed to them. These effects are independent of noise and may be either temporary or permanent.
It therefore follows that exposure to both noise and ototoxic substances elevates the risk of hearing loss, and this needs to be recognised when carrying out a noise risk assessment.
How is the hearing mechanism affected by ototoxic substances?
Ototoxicants may enter the body by inhalation, ingress through the skin, or ingestion, and eventually find its way into the bloodstream. It may then damage the inner ear by either affecting the structures in the ear itself, or by affecting the nervous system. Some of these ototoxicants may damage the hair cells in the cochlea (i.e. the auditory receptor located in the inner ear) where the hair cells are responsible for transmitting signals to the brain along the auditory nerve. These type of ototoxicants may be classified as cochleotoxicants. There are 2 further types of ototoxicants, viz: neurotoxicants which can inflict auditory damage via the central and peripheral nervous system, and vestibulotoxicants which affect the vestibular system and result in imbalance, and may be accompanied by dizziness and vertigo.
The detrimental effect of some ototoxic substances upon hearing is that in addition to sounds needing to be louder for detection, it creates both the inability to localise auditory signals and poor frequency resolution which contribute to further hearing impairment. In environments where hearing protectors are worn, the sufferer’s chances of accidents are heightened.
Which substances are ototoxic?
Current investigative work into the interaction of ototoxic chemicals with noise is limited and is based on epidemiological studies from humans and also animal research. Where data has been taken from animals exclusively and research bodies have considered the test methods to be robust and reliable, there is a high degree of confidence that the tested substances may be regarded as ototoxic.
Ototoxicity may be present in the following groups of substances. Some may not be out of place in industrial type environments. The lists are by no means exhaustive:
- Styrene and methylstyrene
- Xylene and p-Xylene
- Carbon disulphide
- Hydrogen Cyanide
- Carbon monoxide
- 3 Butenenitrile
- 3,3 iminodipropionitrile
Metals and compounds
- Germanium Dioxide
- Aminoglysocidic antibiotics (e.g. streptomycin, gentamycin, amikacin)
- Analgesics and antipyretics (e.g. chloroquinine, quinine and salicylates)
- Loop diuretics (e.g. furosemide)
- Chemotherapy agents (e.g. cisplatin, bleomycin, and carboplatin)
Of the medication, ototoxicity may be temporary and mild in small doses but the effect may be more pronounced with consumption of some of the chemotherapy agents used in managing cancer. Staff could still be at the workplace when under such medication regimes.
Which are the high risk industries?
These are some examples of industries where ototoxic substances are used, and where noise levels can be high, therefore increasing hearing loss risks.
- Fabricated metal manufacture
- Aircraft refuelling
- Textile manufacture
- Furniture building
- Paint manufacture
- Boat/Ship building
- Chemical production
- Paint production
- Defence (weapon discharge)
- Leather production
- Solar cell manufacture
How can ototoxicants be identified in the workplace?
Research bodies have concluded that current studies do not provide enough robust evidence to be able to publish a dose-effect combined relationship of noise with ototoxicants. Neither The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (CoSHH) 2002 nor the Workplace Exposure Limits (EH40/2005) refer to ototoxicity. It’s therefore highly unlikely, for commercial reasons, that manufacturers will warn of ototoxicity on their products. This makes ototoxicants difficult to identify and therefore applying methods of risk control. The best clue for ototoxicity would be to look out for the word neurotoxic on the product labelling or the safety data sheets.
How do you reduce the aggravation of hearing loss with ototoxicants present?
Some suggested risk mitigative actions employers should consider carrying out in a noisy workplace where staff are in contact with ototoxic substances are listed below.
- Replacing ototoxic chemicals by less ototoxic ones or ones that are not ototoxic.
- Isolating the process from the noisy environment if use of the ototoxicant cannot be avoided.
- Providing information in the risks, hazards, and effects of ototoxic chemicals with noise to employees.
- Increasing the frequency of health surveillance for staff exposed to noise and ototoxicants.
- Providing adequate ventilation and effective PPE in areas where ototoxicants are used.
- Raising staff awareness in the effect of ototoxicant medication upon hearing, and for them to inform their doctors/pharmacist of any concerns.
- Introducing any noise control measures against slightly reduced regulatory exposure limits.
Phone: 07710 356663
Chief Operating Officer and President
Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing
Part time, two year initial term
After many years of dedication to the recognition and continuous improvement of occupational health nursing, Christina Butterworth is stepping down from her leadership role at the FOHN, creating an opportunity for others to step forward and take on one of these stretching but rewarding roles.
This is an exciting time for the Faculty of Occupational Nursing (FOHN), as we establish ourselves as the ‘go to’ organisation for occupational health nursing. Providing the standards, information and support required to take the profession forward.
We are looking for two exceptional leaders who can maximise this opportunity; a Chief Operating Officer who works closely with the Executive Committee to deliver the business plan and maintain operational excellence, and a President who works closely with the Board of Trustees to define the strategy and act as the figurehead for the organisation.
It is important to emphasise that FOHN is a membership organisation that aims to empower its members to do their best.
The COO/President will work closely with the Registrar, Executive Directors and other team members in delivering the mission, vision and values of The FOHN.
How to apply
- Before you apply for this role, please download and read the accompanying recruitment pack
- For an informal discussion about this role or more information please contact us
- Please send your CV and Supporting Statement, explaining why you are interested in this post, your suitability for the position and how you feel you can support the ethos and values of FOHN to email@example.com
- Please supply the contact details of 2 referees (one should be your current line manager/clinical supervisor). We will not approach referees without your prior agreement
- Please also indicate your ability to start the role
- Interviews and related activities will take place via teleconference.
For more information, a welcome from our Chair of Trustees and job description, please click on this link: FOHN President_COO Applicants information.
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articles coming soon…