Anxiety in young people… is it making you anxious?? Then read this…

We all suffer from anxiety at some time or other, indeed it is a primitive response designed to be helpful at times when you need to focus and perform … yet more and more people are suffering from increased levels of anxiety, which, untreated can lead to stress, depression and other mental health issues.  One group of people amongst whom this is becoming more prevalent is young people, specifically between 16 – 25; I have some personal experience of this, with one teenager studying for A levels and one at University.  I have witnessed first hand the pressure upon them from a young age to ‘achieve’ – yet without strengthening their resilience if they ‘fail’; the constant pressure from social media to be ‘doing things’ and communicating all the time, yet without building real relationships and helping to create a certain amount of ‘social anxiety’ – a fear of being pushed out of their comfort zone and actually talking to people even when they need to, e.g. doctors, dentists and bank managers!

One of my children (the one at University) has a lovely group of sensible friends that are high achieving, and rarely overdo it with the alcohol (in fact some don’t drink at all). Most made it to the University of their choice, and all come from stable homes… yet around half of them, including my own, have been prescribed with anti-depressant or anti- anxiety tablets (and those are only the ones I know of).  In the first term, one of her circle of friends came home with severe debilitating anxiety, and another came home and spiralled so quickly into depression that she tried take her own life, and very nearly succeeded. I’m not going to try to analyse why; as parents, we can always wonder if we could have made them more resilient.

So how can we help them? 

It’s very difficult from a distance, I’ve realised that.  Most Universities have good Student welfare departments, with plenty of resources including appointments with a Welfare officer; however the young person has to recognise they need help, be confident enough to go to make contact, and actually go to the meetings.  One of the proven routes to relieving anxiety /stress from studying / loneliness is to exercise, however if this is not their natural tendency, how can you get them to do this?  It’s not like when they’re at home and you can turf them out of bed to walk the dog, with a threat to turn the Wifi off if they don’t!  My daughter had said she would like to go to the gym to train, but didn’t have the confidence to go on her own (it made her anxious).

You will be pleased to know I have found a possible answer… a personal trainer.  Before you think “that sounds like an expensive option”, read on.

I researched the University’s Sports Centre and found the profiles of their PTs; I picked one that seemed perfect for the job.  She mentioned things like ‘building confidence’ and ‘mental health is as important as physical health’, but then I asked my daughter to pick one from the list herself – she picked the same person.  I asked the PT to make the initial contact, and before I knew it a consultation was arranged.  My daughter couldn’t get out of it, as thankfully, letting people down makes her anxious… anyway, the text I received following the first session was perhaps the most enthusiastic text I’ve ever received!  After a few sessions she is now happy to visit the gym on her own several times a week, and schedules a visit particularly during times of stress, eg. heavy bouts of revision.  She sees the the PT once a week and receives encouragement, nutritional advice (which she would never take from me) and a new routine so she doesn’t get bored.

So far so good… I consider it money well spent @ £25 per session.  I’m hoping it’s going to be cheaper and a lot less painful than any potential ongoing treatment for mental health issues in the long run.  I know it’s not the only thing contributing to her improved mental health, but it’s certainly seems to have had the most impact.

Big up personal trainers everywhere, and keep up the good work with young people!

What an achievement

Claire Dalton, business owner and training manager, has recently achieved chartered status as a Health and Safety professional and is now a Chartered Member of IOSH.  (Institute of Occupational Health and Safety).  The status is awarded to its members as recognition of their knowledge, qualifications and experience in the world of Occupational Health and Safety practice.  Claire is extremely proud to have achieved this just 4 years after completing the foundation level NEBOSH General Certificate, and would like to acknowledge and thank all of  Live for Work’s regular clients in helping her to achieve this status; without them none of this would have been possible.

Great News! – HSE announces that the use of an Automated External Defibrilators (AED) should now be included in all workplace First Aid training

What is an Automated External Defibrilator (AED) ?

For those amongst us who have not heard of an AED,  it is a small portable device used to treat casualties who are in Cardiac Arrest.  Cardiac Arrest is a condition when the heart suddenly stops beating, this in turn stops the blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. When a casualty is in Cardiac Arrest they will be experiencing a rapid, irregular heartbeat known as Ventricular Fibrillation (V-Fib).  When this occurs an AED is needed to administer an electric shock in an attempt to restore a normal heart rhythm.   For every minute that passes without the heart being restored into its normal rhythm there is a 10% reduction in the survival rate of the casualty so having quick access to an AED and the knowledge of how to use it is really very important.  An AED really can save a person’s life.

The HSE have recently announced that training in how to use of an AED in First Aid should now be included on all workplace first aid courses. This addition to standard first aid training is in line with the Resuscitation Council (UK) opinion that using an AED now forms a standard part of basic life support.  This training will be introduced over the next 6 months and all First Aid training providers will be required to deliver AED training as standard by December 2016.

HSE new sentencing guidelines……It really is time to sit up and pay attention when it comes to H&S in your workplace!

Annually over 600,000 workers sustain injuries following workplace accidents.   Statistics also show that HSE prosecutions of directors and individuals following serious workplace incidents are on the increase. Data taken from the HSE in 2013-14 indicates that they also have a successful conviction rate in their prosecutions of 94%.  

From early 2016 there will be new sentencing guidelines in force which could prove to be extremely costly for businesses as they will now take into account the offence, the circumstances of the offence and also the turnover of the offender to decide on the appropriates sentence and fines. The fines imposed under the new guidelines will be substantially higher than they are currently and will be directly linked to the company turnover.  This could result in large companies with a high turnover receiving extremely large financial penalties.  The new guidelines also propose a starting point of 26 weeks custodial sentence for individuals who are convicted of negligent conduct in the highest category of harm cases such as death or catastrophic injury and these will no longer be given suspended prison sentences.   Courts will also be encouraged to adjust starting points for fines if there are any aggravating factors involved such as cost cutting at the expense of health and safety.  Individuals within a company with or without managerial responsibilities will also now be personally liable and will be subject to financial penalties and imprisonment if they are convicted of a HSE offence.

It has never been more important for you as an employer to protect yourself, your company and your employees against accidents and injuries in the workplace.   We cannot stress enough how essential it is to ensure that your staff are fully trained and informed of their roles and responsibilities in keeping the workplace safe.     Our accredited IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for Managers and Supervisors and will ensure they are fully up to speed on the practical actions that they need to take to handle Health and Safety within their teams, assess and control risks and identify hazards.  It will give them the knowledge and tools they need to tackle health and safety issues that they are responsible for.   Most importantly it will bring home to them just why health and safety is such an essential part of their job role.    We also offer a one day Working Safely course for people at any level, in any sector who need to understand the essentials of health and safety. 

Act now, take the time to have the conversation with your teams and identify the people who require training and ensure that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your company and your staff are fully prepared.  

Recent Changes To Resuscitation Council (UK) Guidelines And Why Your First Aid Trained Personnel Should Attend Annual Refresher Courses

Many companies have benefitted from sending their employees on our First Aid courses, since the days of HSE regulated courses through to the current system of OFQUAL regulated courses. You can be sure that your attendees are receiving all the latest – and correct – information about First Aid in the Workplace, as agreed by the HSE and Resuscitation Council (UK).

Most recently, the Resuscitation Council released its findings from research from the past 5 years, with some surprises in store……

  • There were very few changes to the administration of CPR, with just a few minor adjustments to resuscitation protocols to simplify procedures
  • There were some changes relating to treating asthmatics (particularly children) and low blood sugar in Diabetic casualties
  • Most of the changes related to the treatment of severe bleeds, including the use of tourniquets and haemostatic (blood clotting) dressings where appropriate, and if trained to do so

For many years First Aid training has not advocated the use of tourniquets (which is a device for stopping the blood flow through an artery or vein); however, it has now been recognised that, when used appropriately, tourniquets can save lives and First Aiders should be taught how to use them in cases of catastrophic bleeding.

Of course, if you work in an office, you are unlikely to be in a situation to need to use one, however if you work for a tree surgeon for example, that is a different matter!

These recent changes show how important it is to keep your First Aid trained personnel updated with practical skills and information; the HSE have long since recognised that the standard 3 years between mandatory First Aid training is too long, and therefore ‘strongly recommend’ that First Aiders of all levels also attend an annual half day refresher. This course is intended to be mostly practical work, but also with any updated information for the attendees.

After all, most First Aiders are only called to deal with fairly minor injuries like small cuts and sprained ankles, but if they were called to deal with an unconscious casualty 2 years and 11 months since their last training course, they would still be expected to try to save a life!

How A Robust Health And Safety Policy Can Drive Insurance Costs Down And Profits Up.

As most business owners know, having strong health and safety practices in the workplace makes sound business sense. While benefits, such as reducing the risk of work-related accidents and ensuring the safety of your employees are obvious, you can also avoid the penalties associated with regulatory non-compliance and the legal costs resulting from a court case brought by an employee.

What’s more, better health and safety procedures means fewer incidents over the course of a year, which in turn means reduced downtime, higher productivity and less chance of missing a deadline. All of this can enhance your reputation as a supplier of choice, help you win more business and, ultimately, improve your bottom line.

Read more

6 Terrible Health & Safety Myths!

You may not realise it, but many of the laughable health & safety stories you read online or in print are simply myths, and often a means of blaming health & safety for poor decisions.

It seems that many companies and individuals use the banner of health & safety to carry out their wishes, which often involve what the individual can and can’t do. This contrasts with the fact health & safety law is designed to keep you safe and out of harm’s way, with requirements being based on well thought-through scenarios and past happenings.

Read more

8 Common Workplace Health & Safety Hazards

Health & safety measures are designed to keep everyone safe. Although accidents are a part of life and can occur anywhere and at any time, there are ways to avoid many of them by simply being aware of the most common safety hazards found in the workplace.

Business owners have a duty of care towards all employees, to protect them and keep them safe while they’re on the premises. The good news is that health & safety procedures don’t have to be expensive or time consuming, and are normally hugely beneficial to businesses thanks to such outcomes as a reduction in sick days taken and better staff retention levels.

Read more

Why Waste Management & Recycling Businesses Need Health & Safety & First Aid Training

While it is true to state that health & safety measures and first aid training are of great importance to every workplace in every sector, it is also true to state that safety training within the waste management and recycling industries is arguably even more important.

This is because businesses operating within these sectors are viewed as among the most dangerous places to work in the UK. In an annual report by HSE for 2013/14, it was revealed that only 0.5% of employees work in this industry but account for 2.6% of all reported injuries.

Read more

Why School Age Children Should Be Taught First Aid

First aid is a life-saving skill and one that should be taught to individuals from a young age.

There is currently a campaign by the majority of the main political parties, charities and the Mail on Sunday, backing the addition of first aid to the curriculum – and Live For Work supports this initiative.

Read more