While there were some great initiatives and media coverage for International Women’s Day back in March, here at Bond Williams we like to bring you balance so we’re pleased to see the return of Men’s Health Week, running between 10th and 16th June 2019 (don’t worry, International Men’s Day is happening too and falls on 19th November this year).
Health falls in to two categories – emotional and physical – and employment can have a direct impact on both.
Trips and other tangible risks
Analysis of HSE data showed that men are over 20 times more likely than women to die at work, and with over 676,000 non-fatal injuries reported in the workplace during 2017/18, keeping safe is of paramount importance.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 are there to ensure a safe working environment. A health and safety poster should be displayed in your workplace, along with information on fire, accident, first-aid and any other health and safety arrangements. You should familiarise yourself with these details and ask your manager if there’s anything you are unsure of, or if you feel unsafe carrying out any tasks.
As well as physical threats to safety, there are risks for men who are seated for extended periods. In fact, a study by the British Heart Foundation found that 37% of men spend less than 30 minutes a day on their feet in an office. Other research has revealed heightened risks of cardiovascular disease; type 2 diabetes; cancer; premature death; poor memory function and cognition; inflammation in the body and hormonal imbalances among those who sit too long.
These findings are backed up by a survey by Fellowes that found 81% of office workers are sedentary for anywhere between four and nine hours a day. Its questioning of 1,250 office workers also discovered 64% of workers thought their working environment had a negative impact on their health, with a further 45% claiming their employer did not offer the equipment needed to make them feel comfortable at their desk.
A desk could incorporate a sit-stand arrangement to increase mobility and address the above points, and employees may highlight annual ‘on your feet’ day to help banish sedentary office habits. In addition, health and safety law dictates a company must make sure that computer workstations are assessed to make sure they are set up safely so the user avoids back pain, eye strain and repetitive strain injury.
Mental health in the workplace
The awareness of mental health among men is rising, and employers are being encouraged to address issues that may stem from the workplace or may be acerbated by going to work.
Sadly the current statistics attached to stress at work and the male population do not always make good reading. On average, 191,000 men a year report that stress, depression or anxiety is caused or made worse by work.
A 2016 survey of employed men conducted by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum found 34% of men would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for a mental health concern such as anxiety or depression, compared to 13% for a physical injury. The same research also found 38% of men would be concerned that their employer would think badly of them if they took time off work for a mental health concern – compared to 26% for a physical injury.
It is worth remembering, however, that mental health issues are classed as a disability in the same way as physical conditions are. The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people and employees who are unfairly treated because of a mental illness may have a case for discrimination. If you are struggling with any mental health issues, disclosing this to your manager as early as possible is strongly advised.
Senior Recruitment Consultant
Laurence is an REC CertRP qualified recruitment consultant specialising in the IT, Engineering, Scientific and Education sectors. During his 12 year career, he has developed a deep understanding of recruitment sales, marketing, candidate vetting procedures and account management and understands how to develop lasting relationships with candidates and clients by …