HealthWorks in London originated from an East London and City Health Authority committee that recognised the need for a service in East London that could offer people work related ill health advice that quite likely would not have access to such a service in their workplace.
Initially we had three main areas of work:
Interviewing patients in GP surgeries identifying if complaint is work related and offering a further referral and report.
Providing health and safety lessons and interactive drama to secondary school students in preparation for work experience and / or the world of work.
Mapping of the amount of homeworking in the borough. Developed a health and safety information pack and display. Administered a equipment loan scheme through community partners.
Primary Care Work in Newham
In Newham our work in Primary Care indicated that a high percentage of working people had a work related health problem. Our 0ccupational Health and Safety Advisers interviewed patients waiting to see their GP about their work, workplace hazards and their health. The results showed that over 50% of working patients reported work - related ill health resulting from their current or previous work.
Changes to industry in the area over the last 20–30 years has resulted in a shift towards micro, small and medium sized enterprises where employers and workers have little or no access to occupational health and safety advice.
Research carried out in 1994 showed that 86% of people interviewed nationally had no access to this type of advice in their current or previous jobs and 9% did not know that their health problem could be work related.
Health & Safety Programme for Young People
Many young people are carrying out work, which could be putting their health and lives at risk. Health Works aims to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to protect their health and safety as they prepare for work.
Teaching sessions were developed for the PHSE curriculum supporting schools in preparation for pupils on work experience in years 10 and 11. An interactive drama session was commissioned to support teaching sessions and formed part of our schoolwork delivered in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and Lewisham.
Lessons were provided to 12 secondary schools in Newham covering some 3,000 + students from 1998 - 2000.
In 2000 we approached Newham College to recommend that Health and Safety Awareness training should be included and delivered to unemployed students (aged 18 – 25year) attending the planned New Deal for Employment Course. As a result we delivered our training as part of the Award winning New Deal programme. The session was also tailored for other unemployed groups, those with English as an Additional Language and a refresher for unemployed people over 25yrs.
Health and Safety for Small Businesses
In 2001 we secured funding to deliver a Health & Safety information service offering to businesses, needs assessments identifying training needs and assistance with formulating health and safety policies.
In 2004 – 2005 We received further funding from the HSE to deliver in partnership with London Borough of Newham, Newham Chamber of Commerce and UNISON the following service for small employers:
Tuberculosis, TB North East London Project
In January 2005 London Borough of Newham approached HealthWorks to manage an existing PCT / LA North East London TB project. We employed an Outreach Health Worker to raise awareness of TB amongst the community and to continue to provide training for frontline staff, health professionals and environmental health officers across North East London.
Beauty Sector Occupational Health
In 2006 in partnership with LBN Public Protection team we delivered a occupational health and safety project in partnership with Newham College. This offered a similar health and safety service for SME’s but focussed on the use of chemicals in Nail Bars and Hairdressers. This included raising occupational health questions from a table created by the HSE as part of the Band Hand Day project.
Towards Smoke Free Newham
In February 2006 the government announced the outcome of the free vote on Smoke Free Workplaces, from the summer of 2007 ‘all enclosed public places and workplaces will become smoke free’ with few exceptions.
In Newham this signalled for Rachel Ashworth HealthWorks in London manager, to be appointed to the role of Newham Tobacco Control Coordinator. A number of events and projects were then managed with the guidnace and support of the Newham Tobacco Control Alliance;
Emergency Planning and Business Continuity with SME’s
In 2007 the Emergency Planning section of LBN requested that through our existing links with SME’s that we develop a project to assist and support SME’s with developing emergency and business continuity plans. This we did by offering Electrical and Fire Checks on site and by inviting business owners to a, ‘Keeping Your Business Safe Event’ at West Ham Football Club. Forty businesses confirmed their attendance and on the day just under thirty attended.
Healthier Options Award Project
In 2008 we received funding from the Newham Food Access Project to assist with signing up businesses to a Healthier Options Pilot Project.
To encourage businesses to use healthier cooking methods, to offer healthier options and promote health messages to their customers through a pilot accreditation scheme.
We registered 15 businesses to the project and all were offered advice on food nutrition, cooking tips and chef trainer report back on their menu, ingredients used and food preparation. To date 22 achieved the award.
Communicating Construction health and safety with Migrant Workers
In December 2008 we secured funding from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to deliver a six month project to identify the barriers to communicating with migrant workers and to raise their knowledge of health and safety legislation.
The project aimed to co-ordinate outreach workers with the appropriate language skills to communicate health & safety advice and information to migrant workers on major construction sites in Newham.
Safer Food Better Business
In 2009 we received 18 months funding from the Food Standards Agency, FSA. This project aimed to assist businesses across London to implement Safer food, better business (SFBB) and increase compliance with the legal requirement for documented food safety management procedures based on HACCP principles.
The project targeted over 2200 premises with poor hygiene standards and low levels of food safety compliance with the aim of improving food standards for both residents and future visitors to the Olympic, event and interested boroughs.
National Work and Health Network
We are a founder member of the, National Work and Health Network launched at the House of Commons on the 22nd February 2005.
At a time of growing national interest in occupational health as a central issue for improving people’s health, our organisation and the value of our work is receiving greater recognition both locally and nationally.
We are ideally placed to deliver comissioned services to local community groups such as smoking cessation, TB Raising Awareness Training and Health Projects etc.