Office workers – do you do enough to reduce physical and mental health risks?Worn out office worker

Interestingly I received a number of comments following the last newsletter about Mental Health in the workplace. Most of these from people who work in offices.

However, many people do not think about the risks to the physical and mental health of people employed full time in offices. So this week I thought I would look at this problem and suggest ways to reduce the risks.

We also have our regular pick of this week’s HSE cases.

This week’s 2 recent HSE case look at:

As ever, if you have a subject that you would like us to cover one week, please contact us by phone 01458 253682, email or via our Facebook page or by Twitter

Stand up for your health or become a sitting duck for disease

It is understandable for people to think “But I am sat down in a warm office so that can’t be a health hazard – can it ?”

Well actually Yes it can! Just look at the points listed on this poster showing how your body reacts when you sit down and again after only 2 hours and then after 24 hours.

Sedentary lifestyles contribute to ticking time-bombs of poor health in those who are susceptible to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well as depression, stress and anxiety – according to the British Medical Journal.

Around 45% of women and 37% of men spend 30 minutes or less on their feet. Nearly two thirds fear that inactivity would have a negative effect on their well-being, a poll of 2,000 workers by the British Heart Foundation revealed last week.

A third of those polled said they even put off going to the toilet while sitting at their desks. Those in industrial labour jobs are also at risk since some positions have been replaced by heavy machinery controlled by seated workers

The problem is then compounded by employees driving to and from work before continuing to not exert much physical energy at home by sitting down on their favourite chair, in front of the Television before retiring to bed!

Are you still sitting comfortably?Uncomfortable office chair

If you still feel that you are not at any risk consider these points:  

  • Up to 12 hours a day sitting
  • Include 7 hours sleeping = a remarkable 19 hours a day being sedentary.
  • Even regular exercise wont undo the damage done by prolonged sitting.
  • Sitting for over 6 hours a day for a decade or two can cut away about seven quality adjusted life years. It increases your risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your overall risk of prostate or breast cancer increases 30 percent.
  • Sitting has become the smoking of our generation.

I go to the gym a couple of times a week so I’m ok right?

According to experts, even if an office employee is usually active, being chained to a desk for long hours is “one of the biggest challenges” in improving health as going to the gym doesn’t cancel out implications on the body and mind.

The trouble is most office workers become ‘glued’ to their screens at some point and even start to email a question to the person sitting a few desks away rather than getting up and walking over to that person to ask their question! Yes I can hear you now saying “but it’s quicker that way and I am very busy” but is it really quicker? You email over your question which the recipient needs to read before they send their reply. But this doesn’t fully answer your question so you send back another email and so on.

It would be quicker if you walked over to that person and discussed your question properly and the health benefits from that walk make it a win-win situation in every sense.

Lisa Young, project manager for the British Heart Foundation’s Health at Work programme, said:

“Too many of us are tied to our desks at work, which could be increasing our risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”

Dr Mike Loosemore, head of exercise medicine at University College Hospital, told the BBC:

“Inactivity and sedentary behaviour is one of the biggest challenges we have in public health today.”

“Compared with 100 years ago, our levels of activity are tiny, the number of manual jobs is continually reducing, even if you dig a road up you sit in a little tractor.”

A US study published earlier this month shows that the risk of heart disease is greatly increased by each hour spent sitting down and that inactivity is as bad for the healthy as smoking

So what should you consider doing?Walking in the office

Desk-based workers need to spend more time moving around every hour to energise the body and mind.

Going for short walks around the building, even if it is just to go and do a bit of filing for a while. This also gives your eyes a break from looking at the screen for a while which, in itself can help to prevent eye damage and headaches.

Try taking the stairs instead of the lifts, taking a full lunch break away from the office or doing discreet desk exercises such as described here:

As well as reducing the risk of harming your health you will find that it can also be to your company’s benefit. As squeezing in a little exercise improves concentration and actually makes you more productive

If you would like any further help or support, please please contact us by phone 01458 253682, email or via our Facebook page or by Twitter.

We are exhibiting later this monthOffice workers

As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations the Wilkins Safety Group are exhibiting at 3 Business Expos this year in Exeter, Swindon and Bristol.SW business expo

The first of these is at this year’s South West Business Expo, probably the largest business expo in the South West. The SW Business Expo takes place on Thursday 30th March 2017 (1000 – 1600) at the Matford Centre in Exeter, EX2 8FD. There is plenty of free parking on site and cafe selling food and drink throughout the day.

There will be over 170 exhibitors from across the South West and beyond, including ourselves, 5 seminars, 6 workshops, Technology Zone, Motor Zone,  Charity Zone, New Business Zone, Food and Hospitality Zone, Live Cookery Demonstrations and even 3 Speed Networking Sessions!  It is a great day out for people in business with huge networking opportunities as there will be around 2000 delegates attending!!!!

Come along see us on our stand No 131 and have a look around you will meet some interesting people and perhaps even do some business!

It is FREE to attend if you register in advance, on the day there is a door fee of £5 all of which goes to the organiser’s Charity, Exeter Leukaemia Fund. Book your place at the expo here:

We look forward to seeing you there on the day!

There will also be free to enter Prize Draw

Wilkins Safety Group are going to hold a Prize Draw towards the end of the day with prizes including: Champagne, Prosecco, Chocolates and Pot Pourri in a jar.

In order to have a chance to win one of these prizes, all you need do is come and talk to us on the stand and leave your business card with the member of our staff that you talked to. What could be easier?

Training CoursesHealth and Safety

The first of our courses in 2017 are listed below.

There are more courses to follow in April, May and June – These will be listed shortly.

We are also looking to run some short Health and Safety awareness sessions to emphasise the need for improving your H&S procedures.

Also remember we are still available for running “In House” courses and are looking to add new training courses to our list.

If you have any questions about these courses or any other training or would like us to run a particular course for you, call Jon Wilkins of the Wilkins Safety Group on 01458 253682 or email him.

CDM Regulations 2015 – For the Smaller Builder CDM Regulations 2015

Course Objective

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on the 6th of April 2015, and apply to all construction projects in the UK incl. Domestic projects

This CDM 2015 awareness training course has been developed to provide smaller builders and tradesmen, especially those who haven’t dealt with CDM before, with an understanding of their role and responsibilities under CDM 2015.

Seminar Outline

  • Overview of the Industry accident rate
  • The Legal framework
  • Enforcement
  • Risk Assessment
  • CDM 2015 and the duty holders: Client, PD, Designers
  • Principal Contractors duties
  • Contractors duties
  • Construction Phase Plan
  • Site Safety Management

Benefits of Attending

This course give an overview of the requirements for smaller builders and domestic clients and how the regulations apply to all construction projects from minor repairs and decorating works through to building a new house for a domestic client.

Course Duration:  1/2 day – 09:00 Hrs  to 12:30 Hrs


DATE(s): Wednesday 22nd March 2017

LOCATION: Taunton Racecourse,  Orchard Portman, Taunton, Somerset TA3 7BL

Fee: £80 to include Course notes, Coffee on arrival & mid-morning refreshments and a Certificate of Training   (Fee subject to VAT)

A free lunch is also included if you book this course along with the Asbestos Awareness course.


Course Objective – Training /CPD Certificate issued

Asbestos awareness training is essential for employees whose work holds the potential to expose them to asbestos. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 puts a requirement on employers to ensure that their staff have undergone suitable asbestos awareness training so that they are aware of the potential dangers they may face and also the procedures they must follow in the event they are working in the vicinity of asbestos containing materials (ACMs)

Who Is This Course Suitable For?asbestos

The main groups of workers that are deemed to be at risk from asbestos exposure and therefore the groups’ most requiring asbestos awareness training are as follows:

  • General Maintenance Staff.
  • Electricians, Plumbers & Gas Fitters. Painters & Decorators.
  • Construction & Demolition Workers. Joiners and Plasterers.
  • Computing & Telecommunications Engineers.
  • Heating & Ventilation Engineers.
  • Roofers.
  • Architects & Building Surveyors
  • Fire & Burglar Alarm Installers

Syllabusasbestos types

  • Asbestos- a  history of use
  • What is Asbestos
  • Amosite (Brown) – Chrysotile (White) – Crocidolite (Blue)
  • Asbestos Containing Product Examples
  • Asbestos Properties and the hidden legacy of asbestos