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Pressure point

first_imgThe successful management of stress in the workplace relieson an effective policy. But any policy must go beyond simply paying lip serviceto the problem – it must be fully integrated into the organisation, by DrClaire Welsh A major campaign to tackle work-related stress was launched by the EuropeanAgency for Safety and Health at Work on 2 July 2002. This is the first time aEurope-wide stress campaign has taken place, and it is clearly needed. According to the Third European Survey on Working Conditions, 28 per cent ofworkers, or 41.2 million people, across the EU’s 15 member states experiencework-related stress.1 Furthermore, it is estimated that the total cost ofstress across the EU amounts to approximately £13bn.2 In the UK alone, theHealth and Safety Executive estimates that 6.5 million working days are losteach year as a result of stress-related illnesses, costing industry about£3.75bn.3 So do British organisations have a strategy in place to address thischallenge? Unfortunately not, it would appear. Research by the Industrial Relations Service in 1999 reported that only 21per cent of organisations had a written policy on stress in place.4 Similarly,the TUC found in its research that only 31 per cent of organisations surveyedin the UK report having implemented a policy on stress. Furthermore, when theIndustrial Relations Service questioned safety representatives about thesuccess of such a stress policy, only 25 per cent felt it had been partly orvery effective.5 Clearly, a strategic policy on stress must form the cornerstone for anyaction that is taken to address stress within an organisation. Without such apolicy, there is a danger that any initiatives aimed at tackling stress will bereactive, and that the responsibilities of management and staff for addressingstress will not be made clear. However, developing and implementing a stresspolicy is unlikely to be an easy task, and will require a great deal of timeand commitment from stakeholders across the organisation. General principles There are a number of general principles that should be followed whendeveloping a policy on stress. First and foremost, it is essential that thedevelopment and implementation of the policy be based upon a partnershipapproach. Personnel from an organisation’s occupational health and/or health andsafety department must take a key role in putting together a stress policy, andin ensuring that their technical expertise is used to its full advantage.However, it is important that stakeholders from other areas of the organisationhave input into the policy. There are at least three good reasons for adopting this approach. First, such stakeholders may have greater expertise than OH and safety professionalsin relation to certain areas of knowledge on stress. For example, anorganisation’s legal department may be more knowledgeable on how to interpretthe legislation relating to stress. Second, such stakeholders are likely to have a responsibility for ensuringthat the policy is integrated into the business, and will therefore require agood understanding of the way in which the policy should be interpreted. Finally, the stress policy may impact upon, or overlap with, otherorganisational policies and practices, and therefore the ‘owners’ of suchpolicies need to be consulted, to ensure that all policies and practices areconsistent. Partnership approach Steps need to be taken to ensure that the partnership approach works inpractice. All stakeholders need to be clear about what their role is in thedevelopment and/or implementation of the policy, and how their role fits inwith the roles of other stakeholders. Arguably the best way to achieve apartnership approach in practice is to establish a steering committee early on,and to hold regular meetings, which allow everyone the opportunity to voicetheir opinions and to provide input into the policy from the very beginning.Stakeholders who might be invited to take part in the steering committeeinclude personnel from human resources and the organisation’s legal department,representatives concerned with equal opportunities and industrial relations,and trades unions. While ensuring that a democratic approach is taken, it is also importantthat there is one key individual who acts as chair of the steering committee,and who ultimately has the final say on decisions. Without this individual,there is a danger that conflicts between stakeholders will be allowed toescalate, and progress on the development of the policy hindered. Furthermore,this one individual can act as a focal point for any queries or commentsstakeholders may have in between steering committee meetings, therebyfacilitating communication throughout the policy development process. Ideally, personnel from the OH or health and safety departments should holdthis key role, in order to ensure that the decision-making process is informedby the latest technical knowledge and expertise. Selling the policy The second principle in the development of a stress policy is to ensure thatit is ‘sold’ to the business. Successfully influencing senior and middlemanagement of the need for a policy is likely to be a key factor in determiningthe efficacy of the policy once implemented. If senior management holds a cynical or suspicious view of the policy, thenit is quite likely that such attitudes will be passed down through themanagement chain. Consequently, line managers, who will ultimately hold much ofthe responsibility for ensuring that the policy is implemented effectivelywithin their own departments, are unlikely to feel encouraged to take theirresponsibilities seriously. The most effective method for achieving buy-in to the policy is likely todiffer across organisations, and will be influenced by the culture and politicswithin each organisation. One way of selling the policy that may prove usefulin some organisations is through the development of a sound business case. Thiscan outline the cost of stress for the business, for example through increasedsickness absence, turnover and litigation, and reduced productivity. One methodfor determining the costs of sickness absence has been proposed by Bevan andHayday (2001), 6 and may prove useful as a mechanism for convincing managementthat it cannot afford to ignore the issue of stress. For other organisations, the ‘stick’ approach towards influencing managementmay not be effective. It may be that statements involving the word ‘stress’,and which are aimed at instilling a certain amount of fear in management, willsimply fall on deaf ears. Such organisations may respond more encouragingly toa ‘carrot’ approach, in which the positive benefits of a healthy workforce areemphasised, and less contentious words are used. In such circumstances, it may be more appropriate to talk about a‘well-being’ policy. Provided the key principles of the policy are the same asthose for a stress policy, and management and staff are clear about their rolesfor improving well-being – or preventing stress – it should not matter how thepolicy is marketed. The important issues are that there are procedures andservices in place, which prevent and manage stress, and that management andstaff are encouraged to comply fully with the policy. Whatever method is used to sell the policy to the business, the time andcommitment required to achieve buy-in should not be underestimated. While theprocess of gaining buy-in may delay the development of the policy, it is onestep that must not be overlooked. Once it has been achieved, representatives from management and staff shouldbe invited to take part in the steering committee. Their role is important inmaking sure the policy is user-friendly, and feasible on a day-to-day level.They will be well placed to comment on whether the demands placed upon bothmanagement and staff, in respect to their responsibilities in implementing thepolicy, are realistic in the light of day-to-day business pressures. They mayalso play a significant role in helping to sell the policy to their colleaguesin the business, reassuring them that it is both useful and practicable. Objectives of the policy The policy should fulfil at least four objectives: – To communicate the organisation’s commitment to managing stress andimproving well-being – To raise awareness and understanding of stress – To clarify managers’ and employees’ roles in preventing and controllingstress – To communicate the organisation’s procedures and resources for preventingand managing stress To succeed, the policy must use language and terminology that is appropriatefor the organisation, and which is easily understood. The policy must alsocomplement the organisation’s other policies and procedures, such asharassment, absence management, and working time policies. And clearly, thepolicy must be legally compliant. The requirement of health and safety, and employment legislation, such asthe Working Time Regulations (1998), the Disability Discrimination Act (1995),and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999), must all beincorporated into the stress policy. For example, in line with health and safety legislation, the policy mustadvocate the use of risk assessments for stress across the organisation.Consequently, the policy must focus not only on individual approaches tomanaging stress, but also on organisational approaches, including theidentification and management of the root causes of stress at work. Implementing the policy Following sign-off of the policy by all stakeholders, it should beimplemented across the business. This is likely to be the most challengingstep. All too often, well-developed policies are resigned to becoming littlemore than pieces of paper gathering dust in staff or management manuals. Thepolicy must go beyond simply paying lip service, and must be fully integratedinto the business and its day-to-day procedures. There are at least three ways of facilitating this integration. First, thepolicy must be communicated effectively to all. The most appropriatecommunication media for each organisation, such as manuals, posters, electronicmail, paper briefings, intranet, articles in newsletters, and team briefings,should be used to inform staff and management of the policy. Second, a number of products and services should support the policy, forexample, a staff or management handbook on stress, tools for risk assessingstress, a confidential counselling service, and effective rehabilitationservices to support those staff who are absent from work as a result of astress-related illness. Some organisations may already have such services in place, and willtherefore be able to utilise the policy as a means of bringing together, andcommunicating, the products as a whole. Other organisations may need to spendtime developing such services, to ensure that management and staff have thetools they need to prevent and control stress effectively. It is oftenadvisable in such circumstances to delay the implementation of the policy untilsuch services are available, to ensure that the policy has maximum impact fromthe beginning. Finally, systems should be put in place for encouraging management and staffto fulfil their responsibilities in the prevention and management of stress.For example, compliance with the stress policy could be included as ameasurable objective within a manager’s appraisal. This would involve, amongother things, management maintaining records of all the risk assessments forstress they have carried out, and documenting ways in which they have supportedthe rehabilitation of staff who are absent from work with stress-relatedillnesses. Organisations may wish to consider initially piloting the policy across anumber of departments, prior to rolling it out across the entire company. Thishelps to ensure that the policy is indeed user-friendly, and will provide anopportunity for testing out some of the products and services that support it. Evaluation Once the policy on stress has been successfully implemented, it is importantthat it is evaluated on a regular basis. This is to ensure that it is based onthe latest scientific thinking and emerging legislation, and to assess whetherit is optimally effective across the business. The impact of the policy in the short term could be evaluated using measuresof employees’ and management’s levels of awareness of, and reactions towards,the policy, obtained from staff surveys or focus groups. This will provideevidence of the improvements that need to be made to the policy, both in termsof its content and the way it has been implemented. The longer-term effects of the policy can be assessed in a number of ways,including a review of changes in stress-related absence levels, performancelevels, and usage rates of the counselling and rehabilitation services. It should be noted, however, that organisations may initially witnessnegative changes in all of these measures in the months followingimplementation of the policy, as staff and management become more aware oftheir stress levels. However, over time, an effective policy on stress shouldlead to reductions in sickness absence levels and improvements in performancelevels, as the procedures in place for preventing and managing stress begin totake effect. Conclusion Developing a comprehensive, proactive policy on stress can provechallenging. However, it is a necessary step in ensuring that organisationalinitiatives for managing stress are integrated, both with each other and withthe business. Occupational health staff must play a key role in the development process,in collaboration with their colleagues from related departments. However,ultimately their efforts can only go so far, and it is management and staff whomust be encouraged to take overall ownership of the policy, by ensuring thatthey fulfil their responsibilities within it. Only then, when the organisationhas fully bought in to the policy, can it be deemed to have been whollyeffective in the prevention and management of stress. References 1. Paoli P, Merllié D (2000) Third European Survey on Working Condition.Dublin: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and WorkingConditions. 2. Cooper C, Cartwright S, Liukkonen P (1996) Stress Prevention in theWorkplace: Assessing the Costs and Benefits to Organisations. Dublin: EuropeanFoundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. 3. HSE (2001) Tackling Work-related Stress. A Managers’ Guide to Improvingand Maintaining Employee Health and Well-being. Sudbury: HSE Books. 4. Paige J (1999) Work Stress: A Suitable Case for a Code. London: TUC. 5. Industrial Relations Service (1999) Stress at work: a survey of 126employees. Employee Health Bulletin, 11: 4-20. 6. Bevan S, Hayday S (2001) Costing Sickness Absence in the UK. Brighton:IES. Dr Claire Welsh is a chartered health psychologist, who through herbusiness, Equilibrium Consulting, provides tailored solutions for organisationsin the assessment and management of stress. She is co-author (as C Barlow) ofthe HSE Report Organisational interventions for work stress: A risk managementapproach. She can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected] Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Pressure pointOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Policy paper: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Strategy: Stabilise and build resilience

first_imgThis strategy sets out how the UK government is moving beyond the emergency COVID-19 response to stabilise and build resilience. It details how government is preparing for a second wave of COVID-19 or concurrent pandemic alongside usual seasonal pressures.We are confident we have secured enough supply for this winter period and that we have the processes and logistics in place to distribute PPE to where it is needed.last_img

Long Island Welcomes Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Riverhead & Lake Success

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]A[/dropcap]s Dana and Paul Dargan approached the nondescript building housing one of two Long Island medical marijuana dispensaries that opened on Friday, Dana glanced around in both directions and wondered where the protesters were.The Dargans made the short trip from Hampton Bays to Riverhead, curious to check out the Columbia Care facility and pledge their support. On this dreary morning, there were no signs of opponents. The only people mingling in the parking lot were journalists documenting the historic grand opening and patients making their way inside a neighboring doctor’s office. The dispensary wouldn’t be open for business until 1 p.m.Anyone looking for marijuana leaf displays indicating the dispensary’s location wouldn’t find that, either. Unlike the ubiquitous green leaves blaring from outside facilities in California and other states beckoning potential customers inside and inviting awkward queries from tourists, the Colombia Care building possesses an unassuming tan façade and eschews eye-popping pot paraphernalia.The excitement was palpable once people made their way inside, however. The occasion drew Riverhead Town officials welcoming Columbia Care to Suffolk County, medical marijuana activists and residents like the Dargans.“I believe in compassionate care,” Dana, 62, told the Press, as she waited for the facility’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony. “And this is what it’s all about to me.”The waiting room inside Columbia Care’s Medical Marijuana dispensary in Riverhead. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)Friday marked the beginning of what many supporters see as the future of healthcare for patients with debilitating diseases who can’t seem to find the comfort they desire. The law covers only a small list of serious conditions, including cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, HIV/Aids, and epilepsy. [FULL LIST BELOW]Eighteen months since the New York State Legislature approved the Compassionate Care Act, Long Island finally opened the doors to its own dispensaries.“We think this is a wonderful opportunity for patients and physicians to really examine and take advantage of a new form of healthcare,” Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita told the Press inside the facility Friday morning. Vita offered reporters a tour of the building, though it was a quick one. Patients only have access to a brightly lit waiting room festooned with an oversized photo of a marijuana leaf and a message declaring the facility’s “promise” to patients, and a pharmacy where transactions and consultations occur.For now, patients can only enter the building by ringing a door bell and displaying a state-issued medical marijuana identification, which is then validated by a member of the staff who swipes the card electronically.New Yorkers interested in signing up for the program must receive a prescription from a certified physician and then register with the New York State Department of Health. As of Friday, there were 306 physicians and 465 patients certified by the state, the DOH said.Columbia Care said it was expecting about 15 patients Friday who had signed up for appointments. Over time, the office expects to have normal business hours where patients can walk in without scheduling in advance, Vita said.The medicinal marijuana offered at the Riverhead facility costs between $100-$300, Vita explained. But, he noted, some patients may be entitled to subsidies of 15-20 percent depending on if they live below the poverty line or are on Medicaid.“The goal for us is to make sure no one ever comes and leaves empty handed,” Vita said, inside the pharmacy.“If they want medicine, they should be able to get medicine, and that’s something we have the ability to do.”The law prohibits smokable marijuana. Columbia Care currently offers medicinal cannabis in liquid form, but Vita said he expects to have the drug available as a vapor and pill form in the near future. Columbia Care has three other facilities in the state, including Rochester, Plattsburgh, and New York City.When a patient enters the pharmacy they’ll be able to meet with a pharmacist technician for a consolation. Depending on the severity of their condition, the pharmacist can adjust the prescription, Vita said. Since the process is new for everyone, Vita hopes patients take advantage of the time they can spend with staff instead of walking over to the counter and immediately purchasing the medicine and walking out.“We want to create options,” he said.The program’s rollout did not come without criticism.Count Dana Dargan among the list of people unhappy that the law only includes 10 qualified conditions. She listed her husband Paul’s long litany of medical issues and lamented that although he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from serving in the Vietnam War, he won’t be eligible.“My husband is a Vietnam vet and he’s got a third of a heart, defibrillator, pace maker, five bypasses, nine stints,” she said, rattling off a lengthy list of maladies, which includes a bout with cancer, which he won. “He’s had a lot of health problems.”“I think from the PTSD from Vietnam that he still suffers from—from back when he was 19 in 1968—I think all veterans should be entitled to it who have PTSD,” she said.Donna Schwier of Compassionate Care NY, an advocacy group, said she will continue push lawmakers to change the law so it includes additional conditions, such as PTSD.Still, she firmly believes the list of qualified conditions will only grow as time goes on.“We don’t expect things to happen overnight, at least I don’t,” she said. “But I am optimistic of things going the right way.”For now, though, Schwier is ecstatic for patients with life-altering conditions who are now eligible for treatment.Schwier will also take advantage of the program to help relieve the pain caused by Fibromyalgia, a muscle disorder.“It’s really going to make a difference in those peoples’ lives,” she told the Press. “You’ve got the people with cancer who have no appetite, they’re suffering severe nausea from the side effects of chemotherapy…you’ve got people with Multiple Sclerosis with severe painful spasticity, and the list goes on.”Vita of Columbia Care sees benefits in how New York has adopted the program.“I like the way New York has done this, and the reason why is because patients and physicians will know what the dosing is, they’ll know all of those things they don’t necessarily know in other markets, and if this is supposed to be medicine, those things have to be in place for people to really embrace it,” he said.“Over time I’m sure the program will expand,” Vita continued. “But what we really want to see is sustainable, long-term partnership with the medical community, that’s driven by the physicians and by science.”Eligible Nassau County residents won’t have to travel to Riverhead to seek treatment. Bloomfield Industries also opened its doors to patients on Friday in Lake Success.“Patients suffering from painful and debilitating conditions no longer have to wait for the treatment they so desperately need,” Colette Bellefleur, Bloomfield Industries’ chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Bloomfield is deeply committed to alleviating suffering with safe, cannabis-based medicine distributed in a secure and compassionate environment. We look forward to serving patients in Nassau County and earning a place as a trusted healthcare leader in the community.”For those who can’t find a physician certified by the state, Vita said the company maintains a list of approved-doctors it can share with prospective patients.LIST OF QUALIFIED CONDITIONSCancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, and Huntington’s disease.last_img read more

WHO calls for calm after Indonesia confirms cases of COVID-19

first_imgThe organization recommended that the public wash their hands properly by using clean running water and soap, or alcohol-based hand rub, and avoid close contact with any individual with a fever or cough.Paranietharan said children were not known to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.“Risk of severe disease is high for those over 60 years old and those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease,” Paranietharan said.Monday’s announcement added Indonesia to the list of coronavirus-hit countries after the archipelago claimed there were zero cases for almost two months since the virus first emerged from Wuhan in late December.Many residents of the nation’s capital reportedly responded to the announcement by frantically stocking up on supplies, most notably face masks and hand sanitizers, at convenience stores across the city – a phenomenon known as panic buying – amid fears of a possible coronavirus outbreak in the city.Indonesia’s previous zero cases had raised concerns from many about the detection ability in the country of more than 260 million people, especially as reports had emerged of COVID-19 cases outside Indonesia in which the patients had visited the archipelago before being declared positive in other countries.The global death toll from COVID-19 soared pass 3,000 on Monday as the virus has now infected more than 89,000 people and spread to more than 60 countries to date, AFP reported. (rfa)Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday that two Indonesians tested positive for COVID-19, the first two confirmed cases of the disease brought by the coronavirus originating from China.Jokowi said the two people, a 64-year-old and her 31-year-old daughter, both residents of Depok in West Java, had been in contact with a Japanese citizen who tested positive in Malaysia on Feb. 27 after visiting Indonesia in early February.The WHO further urged citizens to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as well as tend to their personal hygiene, to reduce possible risks of viral infection.Read also: Indonesia monitors dozens in contact with first two COVID-19 cases in Greater Jakarta The World Health Organization has called on the public in general to remain calm after Indonesia confirmed its first coronavirus cases in the country, as the UN health body raised the possibility that more cases may be detected in the near future.“We are not surprised by the announcement and we can anticipate more cases in the coming days. Early detection of cases and laboratory confirmation is critical,” WHO representative to Indonesia N. Paranietharan said in a statement on Monday.“We have been working closely with the government to prepare for this scenario. Now that it is a reality, it is important that we ensure the activities planned during preparedness are implemented quickly.”last_img read more

Despite win over Guelph, Syracuse works to improve heading into regular season

first_imgNicole Ferrara was positioned by the goal when her teammate Larissa Martyniuk unleashed a shot to the net. It was quickly deflected, right to the waiting Ferrera, who smoothly chipped it in.It wasn’t pretty, but as was the case for the Syracuse offense all night in its exhibition game, it was just enough to get the job done.“It was definitely sloppy,” Ferrara said. “It was the first game of the season. You just have to get used to playing with each other. We’ll get better as the season goes along.”Her shot put Syracuse up 3-1 against University of Guelph, a score that would hold until the final buzzer at Tennity Ice Pavilion on Friday night. The game was an exhibition, but it was a tough one, as Guelph entered the game having won its past 16 contests.Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan acknowledged that beating the Canadian team was impressive and that the Gryphons provided a difficult task for the Syracuse attack.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“You can see it’s a game where I think both teams got tired,” Flanagan said. “The puck was bouncing, a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone. We’ve just got to manage the puck better. It’s pretty basic, and nothing we can’t handle in the next few practices.”Flanagan made sure all of his players received minutes. This included the team’s eight freshmen. He noted that he went as deep as to play the fourth line in the win, and said that some of the freshmen impressed him more than others.One freshman that stood out was Elizabeth Scala, the first of the newcomers to get on the board. The Rhode Island native scored on a breakaway goal midway through the second period, and her tally proved to be the game winner.“I was kind of nervous at first, you know, with it being my first game,” Scala said. “But I just tried to take my opportunity and the chance that I got.”Scala’s goal was a brief reprieve for an offense that couldn’t get comfortable on the ice all night. Even Scala acknowledged that the team wasn’t in mid-season form.“We were just kind of running around a little bit,” Scala said, “but that’s expected in the beginning of the year and we’ve been working hard so hopefully that will help.”The hard work will need to continue as Syracuse enters its regular season in Boston on Friday against Northeastern. Flanagan had every player suit up against Guelph, something he said he might be opposed to going forward in the hopes that the offense runs more steadily.Flanagan admitted that his team, which finished its best-ever season at 20-15-1 last year, doesn’t have that “wow” factor, and that winning night in and night out will be a full-team effort.“We’re a team that has to be a blue-collar team,” Flanagan said. “We don’t have any superstars out there. I think we have a lot of parity amongst our lineup. We’re going to have to play hard, and real smart in terms of our decision making.” Comments Published on September 30, 2013 at 1:45 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more