Capital One invests more time in finding right staff

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Capital One invests more time in finding right staffOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Credit card issuer Capital One has cut turnover at its Nottingham callcentre by spending more time recruiting to ensure it hires the right people forthe job. The firm has a turnover rate of 18 per cent among call centre staff, about10 per cent lower than average for the sector. Capital One’s management turnover is also about 10 per cent lower thanaverage at 5.8 per cent. Laurie Hibbs, head of management recruitment at Capital One, said thesefigures have been achieved by their painstaking recruitment process. He said, “We hire from the top 5 per cent in the workplace. We use acombination of psychometric testing, behavioural interviewing, case studies andsome elements of personal profiling. A lot drop out, but we’re sure we have thebest person for that role.” Hibbs told Personnel Today that the company’s excellent benefits alsocontributed to the low employee turnover. These include a gym, a subsidised restaurant,a generous pension scheme and an employee share purchase plan. Hibbs said although Capital One paid average salaries, the total rewardpackage for staff was in the top 10 per cent in the sector. A bonus scheme plays an important part of the firm’s reward strategy and isdirectly linked to an individual’s performance. Capital One also contributes £50 per person every quarter towards a funbudget that is used to organise parties, excursions and other team events. A staff survey revealed 95 per cent of employees were satisfied with thepeople they worked with and 93 per cent were proud to work for Capital One. By Ben Willmott Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Learning for life: Musuloskeletal disorders

first_imgLearning for life: Musuloskeletal disordersOn 1 Oct 2001 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are theprocesses by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve theirpractice. There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-datewith what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifyingwhat you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to helpyou to identify what you have learnt from studying the article. They will alsohelp you to clarify what you can apply to practice, what you did not understandand what you need to explore further. 1. In 1999, 8,500 cases of what were reported? a) Work-related upper limb disorders b) Repetitive strain injuries c) Work-related musculoskeletal disorders d) Work-related manual handling disorders 2. How many days sickness absence in the UK in 1995 were attributable tomusculoskeletal disorders? a) 900 b) 9,000 c) 900,000 d) 9 million 3. The COPE study groups had a sickness absence record that was: a) Normal b) Above average c) Below average d) Well below average 4. The aim of the study was to show that on-site treatment would: a) Reduce days lost and accrue savings b) Encourage staff morale and reduce days off c) Accrue real savings and encourage healthier employees d) Prevent people from going off sick 5. How was the sickness absence budget costed? a) On previous costs b) On national figures c) On DSS figures d) On location costs 6. How was the sickness absence budget calculated? Using a: a) National formula b) Generic formula c) Company formula d) Statistical formula 7. What improved as a knock-on effect of the study? a) Time keeping b) Accident rates c) Staff morale d) Health and safety compliance 8. How long does anecdotal evidence suggest one waits for NHS physiotherapy?a) One week b) One month c) Six weeks d) Six months 9. Decreasing staff turnover has lowered the outlay for: a) Recruitment, training and agency cover b) Recruitment, retirement and agency cover c) Retirement, training and agency cover d) Recruitment, training and retirement 10. Increased morale may be an indicator of a) Decreased workload b) Increased job expectations c) Increased stress d) Decreased stress Feedback1.c) explore the website www.statistics.gov.uk if you have not come across itbefore. 2. d) Carry out a literature search and update your knowledge onsickness absence. 3. c); 4. a); 5. a); 6. b); 7. c) Improved staffmorale could be due to the “Hawthorne” effect. Revise your knowledgeof Hawthorne’s work (Handy C, 1992, Understanding Organisations 4th ed, PenguinBooks). 8. a); 9. d) Discuss the article and the study with a colleague.Consider how far you would agree the Hawthorne effect was influential on theresults and how this could be overcome in similar studies. last_img read more

Pay board is elected to revisit London weighting

first_imgPay board is elected to revisit London weightingOn 23 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today For the first time in 30 years an independent panel has been appointed tolook at whether London weighting needs to be changed to keep pace with theincreasing cost of living and working in the capital. The Greater London Authority’s assembly has commissioned the panel tore-examine how much more London employers should pay their staff than workerselsewhere in the country. The pay board will consider the higher cost of housing, travel, higherconsumer costs and wear and tear. The seven-member panel, which has been drawn from public, private, tradeunion and academic spheres, will also look at how pay weighting can contributeto improved staff recruitment and retention. Nick Page, CIPD adviser on rewards, hopes that the committee will take intoaccount the high cost of living which is faced by London commuters who liveacross the South East region. “It should now be looked at as South East weighting and I hope thepanel will take this into account,” he said. The panel will consider the growth of reward packages and the implicationsfor people located at the geographical boundaries. It will also investigate thelinks between London weighting and increasing house prices. Committee chairman William Knight is keen to get feedback from London-basedemployers and employees who live in the capital. www.london.gov.uk Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Rent a virtual classroom

first_img Previous Article Next Article NetTutor, launched officially at the recent World Open Learning Conferenceand Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC, allows trainers to rent virtual trainingfacilities for around £8.30 per student per day and delivers training to thedesktop anywhere in the world. Developed by Ascot Systems, NetTutor is a fully featured, online virtualclassroom, which brings together instructors and students for live learningevents. It allows conventional instructor-led training to be delivered over anetwork and aims to combine the benefits of e-learning and classroominteraction. “A typical NetTutor classroom provides virtual training facilities fora tutor and 10 students,” explains Bob Eades of Ascot Systems. “TheNetTutor student application is downloadable for easy worldwide distributionthroughout an organisation.” More than one virtual classroom can be rented simultaneously and classroomscan operate in tandem or in isolation from each other. “Clients can accesstheir material from Ascot Systems’ server, delivering to anyone, anywhere inthe world,” says Eades. “We can utilise existing non-e-learningmaterials to run with NetTutor and the new service allows customers to try oute-learning without changing their existing training infrastructure.” NetTutor can deliver any material that can be accessed by a browser and canintegrate with a learning management system. www.nettutor.co.uk Comments are closed. Rent a virtual classroomOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Improved hearing protection in the pipeline

first_imgImproved hearing protection in the pipelineOn 1 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article European politicians have cleared the way for a new directive that shouldlead to much quieter workplaces and greater hearing protection for workers. The Noise at Work directive will give the estimated 700,000 British workersexposed to loud noise at work access to free hearing tests. The directive willbe implemented by the end of 2005. The new law will prohibit noise levels in the workplace of more than 90 dBon average, and reduce the noise levels at which action should be taken from 90to 85 dB. There will also be a requirement on employers to provide hearing protectionto workers currently exposed to between 80 and 85 dB, as well as extending the rightto hearing tests to a larger group of workers. The agreement has been welcomed by the TUC, Royal National Institution forthe Deaf and the European Federation of the Hard of Hearing. A TUC survey recently found that one in five workplace representatives wasconcerned about noise in the workplace, with the greatest concerns in the NorthWest and the Midlands. The three industries where most concern was expressed were manufacturing (54per cent), construction (42 per cent) and leisure (33 per cent). Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article This month’s Occupational Health newsHeart attack response service The Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester has become one of thefirst museums in the country to provide a rapid response service to heartattack sufferers. The museum, in partnership with Greater Manchester AmbulanceService, has set up a training scheme for staff to learn how to operateautomatic external defibrillators. Noise risk Owners of pubs and clubs need to be better educated about the dangers ofexposing employees to too much noise, according to research for the HSE. Therewas a definite potential effect of noise, but it was not possible to establishthe number of individuals whose hearing may be impaired as a result. Guide for stress The CIPD launched a new guide to managing occupational stress to coincidewith October’s European Week for Safety and Health at Work. It looks at ways ofsolving problems so that individuals feel supported. Online advice An online resource on workplace health matters has been set up by the HealthDevelopment Agency. Called Workplace Health and Wellbeing, it was launched inOctober.  www.hda-online.org.uk/workplacehealthDriver safety Ministers are being urged to encourage employers to take more responsibilityfor accidents involving employees killed while driving for work. The TUC saidsuch action would help reduce the 1,000 employees fatally injured every year onthe roads. It called on the HSE to investigate the safety management practicesof all employers whose staff drive at work. Fine for rail firm A railway maintenance firm has been fined £17,500 for breaching health andsafety rules, following an investigation into electrical burns sustained by atrack worker. GT Railway Maintenance was investigated by the HSE after trackworker Simon Rosier received burns while loosening nuts on a track adjacent toa live 650-volt conductor rail. Oestrogen protects against stress Female nurses are less susceptible to stress and serious stress-relatedillnesses than their male colleagues because of the protective properties ofoestrogen, a study by doctors at Greenwich University has concluded. The urineof 315 male and female nurses was studied and stress hormones were found to besignificantly greater in younger males. Heat stress Large parts of UK industry have difficulty in managing and assessing heatstress, a study by the HSE has concluded. The Human Thermal EnvironmentsLaboratory, Loughborough University, which carried out the research, has nowdeveloped a checklist risk-assessment method. Fall arrest equipment The HSE has published guidance on using fall arrest equipment when workingat height. Inspecting fall arrest equipment made from webbing and rope advisesemployers on effective inspection regimes, including the frequency and type ofinspections, the types of defects and damage to look out for. Transport accidents The results of a discussion document on preventing workplace transportaccidents have been published by the HSE. Around 70 people are killed and 1,200seriously injured each year in workplace transport accidents. Responses to thedocument, Preventing workplace transport accidents, concluded that moreguidance was needed. Comments are closed. NewsOn 1 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Let councils have a say over pay

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Let councils have a say over payOn 20 May 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Socpoclaims local authorities are saddled with an outmoded system when deciding whatto pay staff. It is urging the Local Pay Commission to allow each authority toset individual pay levels, dependent on local economic conditions. Jane Lewisfinds out whether such autonomy would work or if it would lead to chaos A radical new approach to paying local authority staff is needed, allowingindividual councils a much greater say in how they reward their staff. This is the view of local government HR body, the Society of Chief PersonnelOfficers (Socpo), in its submission to the Local Pay Commission, which isconsidering whether pay negotiations should continue to be set at a nationallevel. Chancellor Gordon Brown favours devolving pay negotiations to the regions,but Socpo has called for even greater autonomy so the 350 local authoritiesaffected can set salary levels individually. Socpo vice-president Alan Warner said the real problem lies with localauthority employers being saddled with a system “dating back to the 1940sand 1950s”. The unions, which remain vehemently opposed to local pay bargaining, argueit will result in pay being driven down in some areas. However, Warner said thereal message is that pay levels “don’t need to be driven any higher”,with even the lowest pay in local government being set well above the minimumwage. Indeed, what he terms the “blunderbuss” approach to setting pay,regardless of local economic conditions, has created some startlingdisparities. In London and the South East, for instance, public sector managers(paid an average £530 a week) trail way behind their private sectorcounterparts at £780 per week. Conversely, public sector managers in the NorthEast are overpaid by comparison. “What looks relevant in one area begins to look bizarre inanother,” said Warner. He also maintains that the narrow slant of nationalpay bargaining has detracted from the importance of other issues such astraining and development. “You can’t handle pay in isolation of the wholeemployment experience, but that’s the system we’ve got now,” he said. The arguments for doing away with national pay rates have been wellrehearsed. Proponents insist that fixing public pay centrally undermines thetwo critical factors that should determine reward: local market conditions andperformance. By controlling their own budgets – and setting their own terms andconditions – local employers could move quickly to address key skills shortagesand provide the kind of flexibility more sophisticated services that a modernsociety demands. The ‘premium’ pay rates for overtime currently enshrined in the NationalSpine (which sets uniform pay rates), for example, make it prohibitivelyexpensive for many authorities to open libraries, school and advice services attimes when the public wants to use them. The Socpo report’s robust tone represents a change for HR in localgovernment, said the body’s president Mary Mallett. “Personnel people haveshown they are very good at making policies [devised by other people] work. Butwe were very keen that the HR voice was heard loud and clear on thisissue.” But how realistic is it to assume that local authorities have either thewill or the expertise to take on the responsibility for negotiating pay levels?As Socpo points out, local authorities have always had the option of going italone – national pay bargaining has never been compulsory for individualauthorities – yet only a handful have chosen to do so. Moreover, opponents argue that exposing essential services to market forcescould be a recipe for disaster, exacerbating skills shortages in poorer areasand fanning conflict. You need only look at the difficulties the rail industry has experienced interms of staff shortages and strikes since competing companies began settingdifferent pay rates. Not even the most aggressive private sector companies setpay on a regional, let alone local basis, they say. Far from aiding modernisation, the move to local determination is a”dangerous and dated policy”, said Unison general secretary DavePrentis. Some critics also question local employers’ ability to handle negotiationseffectively. During the firefighters strike, for instance, even Downing Streetslammed the employers’ negotiating team as “a shamblesÉ who clearly do notknow how to put together a properly costed deal”. That kind of allegation makes Mallett really angry. For a start, she said,the fire employers were negotiating nationally rather than locally. And critics”are perhaps forgetting how much more sophisticated local authority HR hasbecome”. Those who doubt it need only look at the “ingenuity”they have repeatedly demonstrated just trying to make the National Spine work. So what can account for the ‘painfully slow’ movement into local bargaining?Certainly, some authorities have been opposed to reform on ideologicalgrounds. But many more, who would like to seize the reins, have been thwartedeither by their size (the shift would be prohibitively expensive for manysmaller district authorities) or by a system which, despite paying lip serviceto the notion of greater local autonomy, is easily hijacked by the unions. Socpo is particularly critical of Part 3 of the 1997 Single Status Agreement– the national blueprint for negotiating terms and conditions – which theunions have consistently used to block local variations. This led manyauthorities to conclude that changing terms and conditions was simply toodifficult to attempt – a fact made all the more infuriating given that only 50per cent of council workers are union members anyway. Socpo remains optimistic that when the Local Pay Commission reports thisautumn, it will recommend removing these impediments. In an ideal scenario,said Warner, organisations would be looking at a gradual, and completelyvoluntary, roll-out over three to five years. In the meantime, HR needs to get its house in order. Many local authoritiesalready have a good foundation in terms of excellent data on employee profiles,job descriptions, competencies, pay rates, working arrangements and so on. Nowis the time to build on that by being absolutely clear about your authority’spriorities and the strategies needed to achieve them. “Make sure you’ve got all the building blocks in place so when you needto take decisions you can make them in context,” said Warner. This willinvolve holding lengthy sessions with staff and unions. Bear in mind that localunion officials, accustomed to leaving negotiations to national leaders, mayneed training in this area. Realise too that while any move to local negotiation will undoubtedly bechallenging, the Socpo proposals provide for a continuing national framework toset overall pay budgets and advise on best practice. “We’re not saying let’s tear up national pay bargainingaltogether,” said Warner. “We still need some benchmarks set out at anational level. The emphasis should be on “setting a climate in whichpeople will be tempted to make the shift”. What is being proposed here, isnot “dramatically radical so much as relevant”, added. Mallett, meanwhile, is “eternally optimistic that when the chips aredown, local government falls back on commonsense”. “What Socpo recommends will work. More importantly it will make senseto the people who have to deliver,” she said. Socpo’s proposals in a nutshell– Abolishing the National Pay Spine(“an inconsistent and outmoded product of history”), which sets outspecific salary levels for all employee groups – An end to the specific procedures for negotiating terms andconditions laid out in Part 3 of the 1997 Single Status Agreement – The maintenance of a watered-down national pay body thatwould set overall local authority pay awards, yet leave decisions on howbudgets are allocated to the discretion of local employers. The national bodywould act as an overall framework, responsible for best practice advice – Rejecting regional pay bargaining, which has “none ofthe advantages of national standards” and many disadvantages in terms of”constraining the ability to produce local pay strategies”– A move away from the irrelevant low pay and genderdiscussions that have dominated the local government remuneration debate Comments are closed. last_img read more

Energy company bids to generate online learning

first_imgEnergy company bids to generate online learningOn 3 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. ScottishPoweris providing its 15,000 employees and their families with access to onlinelearning in their homes.Theinitiative, which uses NetG’s hosted online learning service, is the result ofa partnership between the company and its trade unions.Itwas rolled out company-wide following a 12-month pilot scheme, which gave morethan 300 employees free access to online learning at home.Employeesand their families can choose from a wide range of courses which include ITskills, and business and professional development skills such as finance,marketing, communication and leadership.UKHR director Steve Dunn said the scheme would benefit remote staff such as meterreaders who find it hard to access the firm’s onsite learning centres.”Homelearning is a natural extension of our open learning initiative,” he said.”Since 1993, we have endeavoured to use technology to enhance and broadenaccess to learning. I believe this initiative will enrich the employmentexperience and provide valuable development opportunities to ScottishPoweremployees and their families.”PaulMcKelvie, director of ScottishPower Learning, said the scheme was part of thecompany’s commitment to investing in the skills of local people.www.netg.co.uklast_img read more

RoI gains some credibility

first_imgRoI gains some credibilityOn 1 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Two recent awards by the American Society for Training & Development(ASTD) have put return on investment – the training community’s holy grail – inthe spotlight. The ASTD recognised global management consultancy Accenture along withbusiness consultant and return on investment (RoI) guru Merrill Anderson forsuccess in demonstrating hard business returns from workplace learning andperformance programmes. Accenture developed a systematic approach to learning, making the positiveRoI that had been demonstrated the basis for adopting a learning platform, anddeveloping additional learning assets to support it. “As our global economy develops, we’re coming to the realisation thatlearning is the only true source of competitive advantage,” said Anderson,chief executive of MetrixGlobal. “The intense interest in RoI in the pastfew years is a reflection of that trend.” Anderson has undertaken impact studies on a wide range of learningprogrammes, including e-learning and performance management. “I take onsome of the larger evaluation challenges such as knowledge management orexecutive coaching – areas that are considered to have an intangible value. Ipick up the gauntlet on those and show how we can convert some of the valueinto monetary RoI.” He believes evaluation should be “holistic”, rather than”some bolt-on accessory at the end of a training programme”. “We ask what are the initiatives, how are they tied into the businessgoals, and what percentage of those business goals will reasonably be impactedby the learning programme,” he said. Anderson may be one of the training industry’s biggest proponents ofdemonstrating RoI, but he believes there is also a role for softer methods. Forexample, case studies detailing the progress of participants on a performancemanagement programme in narrative form can be very powerful in convincingsenior management of the value of learning. “Instead of just presentingnumbers and statistics and plans, humanising the impact tells a story thatpeople can really relate to,” he said. Anderson may be one of the training industry’s biggest proponents ofdemonstrating RoI, but he believes there is also a role for softer methods. Forexample, case studies detailing the progress of participants on a performancemanagement programme in narrative form can be very powerful in convincingsenior management of the value of learning. “Instead of just presentingnumbers and statistics and plans, humanising the impact tells a story thatpeople can really relate to,” he said.How to measure learningTo measure the impact of learning, the effects of that learningmust first be isolated from other possible factors. American RoI guru MerrillAnderson suggests three easy methods. “The more you can use all three ofthese, the more accurate and credible the RoI analysis will be,” he said.– Expert estimation: interview participants on impact oftraining on new behaviours or skills– Pre-/post-assessment: assess participants on behaviours orskills both before and after the training– Control group analysis: compare participants to peers who didnot take part in the learning Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

CPD: A guide to psychological screening and surveillance in the workplace

first_img View all posts by Noreen Tehrani → Occupational health practitioners should always be on the lookout for psychosocial workplace hazards. Noreen Tehrani explains more.Health surveillance and screening are a familiar part of an OH adviser’s role, involving a systematic approach to the identification of early signs of work-related ill health or injury. This article is concerned with the need for OH providers to undertake surveillance in relation to known psychosocial workplace hazards that have been shown to cause harm to workers.The Management of Health and Safety at Work (1999) legislation provides the necessary framework, with a specific reference to the need for surveillance: “Every employer shall ensure that his employees are provided with such health surveillance as is appropriate having regard to the risks to their health and safety which are identified by the assessment.”Surveillance falls within the wider risk control and management cycle in which organisations are required to undertake key five activities – see box below. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also identified a number of psychosocial workplace hazards that are less extreme, including bullying, harassment and workplace stress (Rick et al, 2001).While occupational surveillance shares some of the features and tools of clinical research, it is not designed to generate or create new scientific knowledge, but rather it uses existing knowledge and research to prevent disease or injury, enhance resilience and increase wellbeing in employees who may become exposed to an identified health hazard (Otto et al, 2014).A review of the risks inherent in organisations (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2011) identified a number of hazards in emergency services that included physical exposures such as musculoskeletal hazards, and radioactive, chemical and biological substances. However, in addition to these physical hazards, the agency identified psychological hazards including exposure to disasters, dealing with multiple deaths, body recovery, transport accidents, terrorism, fires, shootings and other threats to life.Five steps of risk assessment1. Identify the risks in the workplace: What hazards exist and how could these hazards affect the health and wellbeing of employees?2. Find out who might be harmed and how this might occur: Who might be exposed? Which groups are particularly vulnerable? How could they become exposed? Which roles or tasks are particularly hazardous?3. Analyse and evaluate the level of risk: What is the likelihood of an injury occurring? What could be the magnitude of harm caused? How can the risk be measured?4. Establish ways to reduce the risks: What are the control measures? Are they proportionate? How should they be implemented? Who would be responsible?5. Record, monitor, review and improve: How is the surveillance programme working? How do we compare with other organisations?The surveillance of psychosocial hazards should be treated with the same importance and urgency as physical surveillance, in order to support organisations to meet their duty of care to their workforce (Acas, 2012).1. Identifying the psychosocial risks to healthMany occupations involve activities that are known to have potential for causing psychological harm and therefore can be foreseen. The HSE has developed management standards that identified five potential hazards that should be monitored and controlled in organisations (HSE, 2009). These stress-related hazards include: lack of control and support; exposure to conflicting relationships; poorly defined roles; and organisational change. These can result in the workers suffering psychological injuries including anxiety and depressive disorders.In addition to workplace stress, a large number of occupations are exposed to more extreme hazards as part of their work. These include: emergency services; social work; teaching; retail; humanitarian assistance; transport; engineering; and construction. These workers are exposed directly or indirectly to death, trauma and distress where the possibility of psychological injury is known and is therefore foreseeable under the law.There is a significant body of evidence to demonstrate that workers directly exposed to traumatic events, including body handling, shootings, transportation disasters, physical attack, verbal abuse, harassment and accidents during the course of their work, have an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, anxiety, and/or alcohol or drug dependency (Breslau, 1998). The latest version of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) guide to psychiatric disorders provides descriptions of stress-related hazards that can lead to PTSD, acute stress disorder and adjustment disorder.During this phase of the cycle, the employer, often assisted by the OH service, needs to be examining all the roles within their organisation to identify any known hazards to the psychological health of employees. The OH service can help by examining the research into work-related psychological injury; this may involve looking at claims for compensation, stress/trauma research and epidemiology.2. Find out who might be harmed and how this might occurAfter the risk assessment has been completed, the next stage of the control cycle is to identify which workers are at greatest risk and how they might be harmed. There is growing evidence to show that certain employees are at more risk than others; the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations identify a number of categories of employees who require particular attention, including new and expectant mothers and young people.Research into anxiety, depression and traumatic stress has shown a wider range of vulnerability that includes gender, personality, level of education, pre-existing disorders and early life abuse. These factors have been shown to increase the impact of an exposure to a hazardous event and need to be considered in recruitment, task design and the provision of support. It is important for the OH service to identify which individuals may be at more risk, to introduce reasonable adjustments and to take account of these vulnerabilities when planning and undertaking a surveillance programme (Breslau, 2009; Alexander and Klein, 2003; McFarlane, 2004).This phase of the control cycle requires employers to consider how particular employees are exposed to a hazard. Understanding their roles and how these roles are undertaken is important; this would generally mean interviewing workers to find out how they engage in hazardous tasks to identify what might be involved in increasing or mitigating the risks. For example, a traffic warden’s role is to identify dangerous and illegal parking and to issue parking tickets where appropriate. The traffic warden faces the hazard of being assaulted by an angry driver; this risk may be increased or mitigated by the level of the traffic warden’s training in the use of interpersonal skills.3. Analyse and evaluate the level of riskThe most effective way to systematically analyse and evaluate the level of psychological risk within an organisation is through psychological screening. It is important to check the reliability and validity of the questionnaire and to make sure that the person administering and interpreting the results is trained and competent in psychometric testing. There are a number of questionnaires and screening tools that have been developed that can be used to help analyse and evaluate the level of psychological risk faced by workers. Research has been undertaken in clinical and organisational settings to create measures that assess the levels of symptoms and also identify vulnerability and protective factors implicated in the development of psychiatric disorders. Wilson and Keane (2004) provide a good review of assessment tools and gauge their reliability and validity in assessing trauma symptoms.An effective surveillance programme also measures other relevant factors, including personal vulnerability where gender, introversion/extroversion and neuroticism/emotional stability have been shown to be important factors (Tehrani, in press). A number of psychometric tools can be used to measure personality, one of the earliest being the three-factor EPI (Eysenck and Eysenck, 1975) and more recently the five-factor NEO-PI (Costa and McCrae,1992). Both personality questionnaires measure the important extraversion/introversion and neuroticism/stability continuums. Personality tests can only be interpreted by a British Psychology Society (BPS) registered and qualified test user (BPS, 2014).The effective use of coping skills and personal resilience factors can also be helpful in identifying vulnerability to harm. There are a number of valid and reliable measures that can be used to assess individual resilience, including measures such as COPE (Carver et al, 1989), hardiness (Bartone et al, 2008) and sense of coherence (Antonovsky, 1993). Some of these questionnaires can only be used by a registered psychologist (BPS, 2014), while others are more widely available (Brewin, 2005).The OH service may be able to access a provider of electronic psychological screening or employ a suitably qualified psychologist to undertake the screening on their behalf (Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), 2009). Having undertaken surveillance screening, the OH service should then identify psychological “hotspots” where employees are experiencing above the expected levels of clinical symptoms. The OH service will need to discuss this with the managers and employees to identify what might have caused the change in symptoms, examining organisational factors including: recruitment training; procedures; workload; and control or changes in the nature, incidence or magnitude of the psychological hazard.As the use of psychological surveillance increases, it should become possible to benchmark with organisations facing similar hazards.4. Establish possible ways to reduce the risksThe control cycle involves three levels of risk reduction interventions: primary interventions, involving changes to working practices or procedures; secondary interventions, which help employees manage their responses to hazards without attempting to eliminate or modify them (training aimed at increasing resilience and coping skills are useful in reducing the impact of psychological hazards); and tertiary interventions, involving the provision of individual support (Jordan et al, 2003).Primary interventions require management agreement and support as they will typically involve changes in ways of working, equipment or procedures. The use of benchmarking with other organisations can identify gaps and opportunities for improvements; this is a good way to highlight what might be done to reduce the primary risks.Secondary interventions can involve the OH service in developing educational presentations to help the employee recognise how to reduce the risk of psychological harm and identify the early signs of distress. One of the more effective ways of reducing the risk of psychological ill health is the structured interview with employees, which combines secondary and tertiary interventions. Employees identified as experiencing difficulties in the screening should be offered a structured interview, which will help to identify the most appropriate intervention options. These options may include training to increase resilience or coping, an adjustment to the role, additional management support or redeployment to an alternative role. Employees suffering from clinical symptoms may require a referral for therapy or psychiatric treatment.5. Record, monitor, review and improveOrganisations need to maintain records on how they are handling physical and psychological risks to employees. Not only is this important to the surveillance process but it also helps to demonstrate that the organisation is meeting its legal duties. OH departments should work with management to ensure that data is collected and that opportunities for improvement are taken.It is important that the OH service maintains a risk register, which covers any significant psychological risk and a record of the results from the programme of surveillance. OH can then provide management with the information on the fitness of employees to undertake their role. Where an employee is currently unfit then the OH service will provide advice on any adjustments or need for redeployment in an alternative role. Management will then also be provided with information on the operation of the surveillance programme, the numbers of people engaging in the programme, number of roles assessed as needing to be part of the surveillance programme, levels of fitness, areas of concern and opportunities for improvement (Everton, 2013).DiscussionBy using these five steps, OH can support management in bringing about real change in psychological wellbeing within organisations. There will be a requirement to work with others where particular skills are needed to augment the standard OH provisions, but there is a lot that OH advisers can do using their existing skills and knowledge of the workplace to implement workplace surveillance with confidence.In 2012, the Department of Health discussed a vision of the future where surveillance would play an important role in reducing the burden of ill health. However, to achieve the potential benefits there will be a need to bring together systems and expertise from organisations and public health to establish a minimum standard surveillance model, which could inform future directions in reducing the incidence of preventable morbidity and mortality. There is a rich seam of information available within organisations – all that is needed is a desire to gather it.ReferencesACAS (2012). Defining an employer’s duty of care, downloaded 29 August 2014Association of Chief Police Officers (2009). ACPO Combating Child Abuse on the Internet (CCAI): practice advice on the protection of workers engaged in identifying, investigating, tracking and preventing online child abuse (internal document).Alexander D, Klein S (2003). “The epidemiology of PTSD and patient vulnerability factors”. Psychiatry; 2 (6), pp.22-26.Antonovsky A (1993). “The structure and properties of the sense of coherence scale”. Social Science Medicine; 36 (6), pp.725-733.APA (2013). 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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; 56, pp.267-283.Costa PT, McCrae RR (1992). “Normal personality assessment in clinical practice: the NEO personality inventory”. Journal of Personality and Assessment; 4, pp.5-13.Department of Health (2012). Public health surveillance: towards a public health surveillance strategy for England. London: TSO.European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2011). “Emergency services: a literature review on occupational safety and health risks”. Luxembourg: publications office of the European Union.Everton S (2013). “Health Surveillance”, in Greta Thornbory (Ed) Contemporary Occupational Health Nursing: A Guide for Practitioners. London: Routledge.Eysenck HJ, Eysenck SBG (1975). Manual of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Junior and Adult). Kent, UK: Hodder & Stoughton.HSE (2009). “How to tackle work-related stress: A guide for employers on making the management standards work”. Sudbury: HSE Books.Jordan J, Gurr G, Tinline G, Giga S, Faragher B, Cooper C (2003). “Beacons of excellence in stress prevention”. Sudbury: HSE Books.Management of Health and Safety at Work (1999).McFarlane A (2004). “The contribution of epidemiology to the study of traumatic stress”. Social Psychiatry and Psychometric Epidemiology; 39, pp.874-882.Otto JL, Holodniy M, DeFraites RF (2014). “Public health practice is not research”. American Journal of Public Health; 104 (4), pp.596-602.Rick J, Briner RB, Daniels K, Perryman S, Guppy A (2001). “A critical review of psychosocial hazard measures”. Sudbury: HSE Books.Tehrani N (in press). “Extroversion, neuroticism and secondary trauma in child protection investigators”, Journal of Forensic Practice.Wilson JP, Keane TM (2004). Assessing Psychological Trauma and PTSD. New York: Guildford Press. Previous Article Next Article CPD: Understanding the psychological concepts underpinning resiliencePersonal levels of resilience may help to determine how well, or not, an individual copes with the mental and emotional… Coronavirus: lockdown ‘phase two’ may bring added headaches for occupational healthNiggles, aches, pains and anxieties stored up during lockdown need to be nipped in the bud before they become long-term… Related posts:center_img Comments are closed. CPD: A guide to psychological screening and surveillance in the workplaceBy Noreen Tehrani on 23 Jan 2015 in Anxiety, Mental health conditions, Continuing professional development, Occupational Health, Personnel Today About Noreen Tehrani Noreen Tehrani is dean of the Applied Psychology Faculty at the Professional Development Foundation, and managing director at Noreen Tehrani Associates. 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