Business ignores warnings on RSI

first_img Previous Article Next Article Business ignores warnings on RSIOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Employers are too often complacent about risks of RSI, especially to theyoungMore than three-quarters of young workers in the UK are at risk of gettingrepetitive strain injury because of the nature of their work, the TUC haswarned. British businesses are too often complacent about the risks of RSI, orsimply ignore the warning signs, the union’s body added. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive showed about 65 per cent ofall UK workers had jobs involving the repetition of the same sequence ofmovements many times, with the figure rising to 78 per cent for younger workersaged 16-to-24, said the TUC. For those having to perform tasks quickly, the figures were 60 per cent forall workers and 71 per cent for younger employees. More than half of the UK’s four million younger workers were forced to workin awkward or tiring positions, compared with 45 per cent of the totalworkforce. About 36 per cent of younger workers had to use “appreciableforce” at work, compared with 28 per cent as a whole, and 43 per cent wereunable to choose the order in which they carried out their tasks, compared with33 per cent in the general working population, said the TUC. TUC general secretary John Monks warned employers were too often choosing toignorethe warning signs by failing to assess the RSI risks in their companies. Often they were bringing in large numbers of casual workers, who were oftenyoung and too scared to complain about bad conditions, he argued. The TUC has now written to the chief executives of the main PC retailers inthe UK, asking if they would be willing to issue a joint leaflet on displayscreen safety, which would be made available to all people buying computers. Mr Monks said: “Computers will be at the heart of all jobs in thefuture. But if we continue to ignore the RSI risks faced by our youngworkforce, we are effectively writing off a whole generation. In a separate development, the HSE has published guidance for people whoemploy under-18s, explaining their duty of protection as well as offeringspecific guidance on risks. www.hazards.org/strainpain.htmlast_img read more

HR has no time for affairs of the heart

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. HR has no time for affairs of the heartOn 12 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Love isn’t in the air among HR professionals in the US, even in the run-upto Valentine’s Day, with the majority of personnel staff saying they wouldn’tget romantically involved with colleagues. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com askedmore than 1,200 HR professionals and corporate executives if they approved ofromantic relationships in the office, and almost three-quarters said no. They said workplace romances were dangerous and were something they wouldavoid. But HR professionals are more romantic than senior staff. While 58 per centof executives said workplace romances should be banned because of the problemscaused if the romance ends, only 12 per cent of HR professionals gave thatreason. The survey found that few organisations have formal policies on workplaceromance. www.shrm.org/surveyslast_img read more

Seminar addresses OH management issues

first_imgOther speakers on the day included Stella Robinson, regionalOH manager with BUPA, who gave a positive case for OH; Liz Baird, HM inspectorof OH with HSE, whose presentation Revitalising OH described ways in which HSEinspectors address OH issues; Elaine Higson, director of Healthscope (UK) Ltd,who subtitled her talk on sickness absence “actively managed or politelyignored!”; and Nigel Heaton, director at Human Applications, who examinedall aspects of back care management. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Gail Cotton, immediate past-president of the Association ofOH Nurse Practitioners, gave a presentation entitled Quality pathway for OH.She recommended discussing any OH project with management and identifying  internal and external standards that relateto the activity. Previous Article Next Article Following the welcome address from Barbara Port, thechairman of the East District, Denis Cutter – regional claims director withMarsh UK Ltd – looked at different methods of handling disease and illnessclaims. Cutter explained pre-action protocol, litigation, investigation and howinsurers deal with incidents. He was followed by Roger Calvert, OH physicianwith Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, who discussed the role of OH, bothin the present and the future.  Seminar addresses OH management issuesOn 1 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today The programme was designed to promote the awareness that anOH service is like any other part of a business and, therefore, needs to havetargets, structure and quality as part of its function. A host of authoritativespeakers had been assembled to get this message across. The East District of the Institution’s Midlands Branch ran aseminar in June that focused on the management of OH services in the workplace.Held at Coton House, near Rugby, the event aimed to provide an understanding ofexactly what an OH service is. last_img read more

NHS focuses on strategy with development centre

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Concerns are growing that a key vote in Europe this week will support plansto give temporary workers the right to the same terms and conditions aspermanent staff from their first day of employment. The European Parliament’s employment and social affairs committee wasyesterday (Monday) due to debate the amendments to the controversial AgencyWorkers Directive before deciding its final content. The draft directive currently gives agency staff equal rights with permanentstaff after six weeks of employment. However, the Engineering Employers Federation’s David Yeandle waspessimistic about the probable outcome of the vote. He said that hisdiscussions with MEPs had indicated the committee might remove thisqualification period altogether. The EEF and other employer bodies in the UK had been lobbying to have thequalification period extended to at least a year. “There does not seem much chance of the qualification period beingextended. I think it will be reduced or removed completely,” he warned. Yeandle, the EEF’s deputy director of employment policy, was also unhappythat the committee was unlikely to support the EEF amendment to the directive,which would exempt highly paid temps with specialist skills. He said that once the committee had voted on the directive’s content it wasunlikely to be changed when debated by the full European Parliament. However, amendments could still be made by the Council of Ministers. Comments are closed. NHS focuses on strategy with development centreOn 22 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Employers still putting in to company pension plans

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Ninety-five per cent of employers still make contributions to companypension schemes for existing employees. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) annual rewardsurvey polled 500 HR professionals, and not only found large-scale use oforganisational pension schemes, but also that many companies plan to increasetheir contributions rather than close pension schemes this year. The results, released at the CIPD’s annual reward conference in London lastweek, reveal that 87 per cent of employers make contributions to new employees’pension schemes. However, employers are changing the types of schemes on offer, with a markeddifference in the way that existing and new employees are treated. Nearly halfthe UK’s employers provide existing staff with a defined benefit (final salary)pension scheme. These schemes are often seen as the best form of pension provision, as theyare normally based on the salary at or near retirement and on length ofservice. Under defined contribution schemes, each person has an individual accountwhich is invested, and its value on retirement is used to provide the pensionbenefit. However, for new employees, two-fifths of organisations now offer a definedcontribution plan (also known as a money purchase scheme), with just a thirdproviding a defined benefit scheme. Charles Cotton, CIPD adviser, reward and employment, said most organisationssee the benefits that offering a pension scheme has on recruitment andretention. He said there is, however, a move from defined benefit to definedcontribution: “The shift has been around for a while, but has become morenoticeable because more companies are going down that path.” Of those planning to make changes to their existing pension arrangements,about 35 per cent plan to close final salary schemes to new employers in 2003. www.cipd.co.ukBy Quentin ReadePension arrangements for new employees% OFEMPLOYEES                           Senior                          middle/first                  non-manual                 manualnon-    management               management               non-management        managementDefined contribution/                             39                                42                                42                                43money purchase planDefined benefit/                                    35                                32                                32                                33final salary planPersonal pension                                   22                                21                                19                                18Stakeholder pension                             15                                16                                18                                16Hybrid (mixture of DC and DB)            2                                  2                                  2                                  2Source: CIPD Comments are closed. Employers still putting in to company pension plansOn 11 Feb 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Practice makes perfect

first_imgIncludingoccupational health as a practice placement for student nurses as part of theirpre-registration diploma is a process that has also been advantageous to OHteams, by Tammie Daly, Nia Harris & Alison ClarkeOccupationalhealth nurses (OHNs) are in a unique position to assist student nurses to meetthe public’s ever-changing health needs.Thisarticle discusses the setting up, implementation, and benefits of includingoccupational health as a practice placement for student nurses as part of theirpre-registration diploma programme – a process that has also been advantageousto the OH staff involved. Accordingto an article in Nurse Education Today, ‘collaboration between educationalinstitutions, clinical practitioners and managers is necessary in order toreduce ‘reality shock’ and bridge the gap between nursing education and nursingpractice’.1NottinghamOccupational Health (NOH) has always maintained close links with NottinghamUniversity, through lectures, health screening and support.Ithas, in the past, placed Project 2000 students in industry but, due to ashortage of suitable placements, time constraints and, in some cases, theattitudes of the students, the project folded.TheDepartment of Health’s (DoH) Placements in Focus advocated a more innovativeapproach to providing student nurse placements.2In2001, Alison Clarke, from Nottingham School of Nursing, suggested NOH considerincluding OH as a themed placement for adult branch student nurses as part oftheir ‘community experience’.3Therationale behind the initiative was for student nurses to understand theeffects of work and the workplace on health, and the effects of ill health onthe individual’s fitness to work.Thiswould then enable them to provide better advice to patients on managing theirhealth in relation to their working environment, managing chronic health atwork, liaising with appropriate support to continue to work with an existinghealth problem and returning to work after illness.Outlineof projectTotry to involve other OHNs, Clarke spoke to the Nottinghamshire OH Group and theinformation was distributed via their newsletters. Some OHNs thought thestudents would be too inexperienced to work in our speciality, while others feltunable to commit the time. Six nurses, however, did see the potential, and metwith the programme manager and placement co-ordinator to explore the conceptfurther.Twoorganisations, Nottingham Trent University and NOH, agreed to pilot the scheme,while other organisations expressed a willingness to have the students visitfor periods ranging from half a day to two days.Theplacement sites were first audited by the school to help ensure they would meetthe learning needs of the students. The group met to develop a learning packagearound professional practice, care delivery, care management and thedevelopment of self and key skills.4Eachof these domains was explored in relation to OH practice and to ascertain whatpossible insight could be expected from the placement, as well as thedevelopment of practice skills. Thispackage proved a useful guide for OHNs to facilitate, direct and focus learningfor the students on placement. The placements also benefited the OHNs by makingus critically analyse our own practice, especially when reflecting anddiscussing clinical situations with the students.Itcan be difficult for the busy OHN within the daily constraints of clinicalpractice to find time to search for, read, appraise and think about usingresearch. Students ensure we do find the time, especially as they are taught tolook for evidence-based practice, thereby making us initiate, develop andmaintain change. Theproject started in October 2001. NOH, which has three departments and a team ofnurses, was able to place two students, while Nottingham Trent University tookone student, as its nurse worked alone. The placements were structured and aprogramme produced before the students started. These included visits to otherOH departments such as Astra Zenica, Boots, The Fire Service and RHMS bakery.The students also visited other sites and industries with their mentors (seebox, left).GettingstartedOnthe first day, all three students met at the hospital for the induction. Thisallowed the nurse from the university to meet the students to help ensure peersupport would be possible during the placement and, hopefully, reduce theanxiety of the students entering a new environment.Groundrules were negotiated to ensure the students realised that the health, safetyand welfare of the OH client group was the main concern. The induction includedan explanation of the role of OH, confidentiality issues (especially as peerrecords would be stored in the hospital’s OH department), and the learningexperience that would be available within, and allied to, the placement. Italso covered the expected outcomes from the placement.OutcomeThroughoutthe placements (usually six to eight weeks long), the students met about threetimes with the tutor from the school of nursing, to link theory to practice.The mentors also attended these sessions, providing the opportunity forcommunication and consultation between the students, mentors and tutorialsupport. It also helped the mentors ensure that the students met their expectedoutcomes.TheOHNs negotiated the learning experiences, acted as role models and promotedlearning through reflection.5 They facilitated the students in self-directedlearning by allowing time within the placements for the students to exploreareas of interest (for example, offshore medicals and drug screening).Thiswas especially important because during the placement, the students had toexplore a work/health issue and write a 1,000-word report. Subjects tackledincluded reasons for undertaking respiratory surveillance and hepatitis C andthe healthcare worker.Sofar, six groups have had their themed placements in the OH setting, all ofwhich were evaluated by students, mentors and the school of nursing during agroup discussion at the end of each placement period. Nearly all the studentsgave excellent feedback and the placements have proved popular (see box, p20).Theplacements would not have been so successful without the support of other OHdepartments. Organisations such as Astra Zenica, Boots, Nottingham FireBrigade, and RHMS bakery supported the two main organisations, helping to givethe students a good insight into OH.VickyWright, OH nurse for Sainsbury’s in the Midlands, is hoping to join the schemeand take the students for a couple of days next spring. “I am looking forwardto helping student nurses during their training to see how health in the adultsof working age is supported and managed in the workplace,” she says.ProblemsidentifiedItwasn’t all smooth sailing; there have been obstacles. One organisation thatjoined the scheme later had to withdraw due to time constraints. However, thatnurse still wants to take students for shorter periods.Thismight lead to joint placements in the future (two organisations having astudent for a shorter duration or even half a week each for the six weeks).There have been rare incidents of problems with time-keeping and absences, butagain these were dealt with on a personal level.Itmust be recognised that it can be emotionally demanding on the part of the OHN,especially if, like the OHN at the university, you work alone. Also, there canbe conflict between the responsibility to clients and giving the studentsenough quality time.Itcan sometimes be difficult to just let go, stand back and allow the students toundertake procedures, especially if there are time constraints and you wouldnormally be able to do it quicker yourself. This is one factor you must takeinto consideration when supporting students – supervised practice takes time,and teaching takes even longer. This has, however, been offset, and provedinvaluable when the students were able to provide support in delivering clientcare during staff shortages.PositiveeffectBeinginvolved in student nurse training can only have a positive effect for allconcerned. It is through education that the quality of care provided topatients and the general population will be improved.Studentswill be able to link theory to practice, and vice versa. They will be able tolook much more holistically at the patient in relation to work and health, andhopefully provide them with appropriate health education so they can takeresponsibility for their own health at work.Onfuture placements, they can raise awareness of good practice, such as promotingOH services, infection control issues, and action to be taken followingcontamination from blood or body fluids. They will understand that ill healthmay arise from exposure to hazards at work whether physical, chemical,biological, psychological or even from an accident.Thisknowledge will stand the students in good stead when they themselves becomeward managers. It will also enable them to look at what the patient will bedoing on discharge from hospital, and think about any special requirementswhich will assist them in successfully returning to work. It may even encouragethem to enter the speciality in later years.ConclusionTheOHNs learned a lot as well, especially through reflective practice and, for themost part, have found the students enjoyable and interesting.Ithas made us look at our own evidence-based practice and competencies and hasencouraged other team members to take an active part in student training. Ithas also encouraged us to read more literature in relation to our own practice.Itdoes take considerable time, commitment and resources on everybody’s part, andwe certainly would not be able to offer such a wide variety of experienceswithout the assistance of our colleagues in other industries.Byworking collaboratively with the school of nursing, it has strengthened thepartnership between education institutions and OH. OHNs can benefit from theexpertise of the university and the students have insight into research andwriting for publications. One student working at the university assisted inwriting a latex glove policy and, as a result of his involvement, a jointarticle was published in Occupational Health.6OtherOHNs should be encouraged to either contact their local school of nursing orhave a more positive outlook if approached to take part in a scheme, especiallyas the number of pre-registration students is increasing and more placementswill be required. It is beneficial – honestly.TammieDaly, RN, MA(Ed), DPSN(OH), is a nurse consultant at Nottingham OccupationalHealth, Queen’s Medical Centre, University Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham. NiaHarris, BmedSci (Hons), DipOSH, RGN, is an OH specialist at Nottingham TrentUniversity. Alison Clarke, MSc, BN, RNT, RN, is a health lecturer at theUniversity of Nottingham School of NursingE-mail: [email protected]: [email protected]‘We don’t sing the chorus when the folksinger’s here: the learning society andhealthcare’, Schuller T, 2000, Nurse Education Today, 20,218-2262.Placements in Focus: guidance for education in practice for health careprofessionals, Department of Health, 2001, ENB, London3.Care of Adults in Community and Non Institutional Settings (DN10), NottinghamSchool of Nursing 2000a, University of Nottingham (in-house publication)4.Diploma in Nursing Assessment of Practice Record: Adult Branch, NottinghamSchool of Nursing 2000b, University of Nottingham (in-house publication)5.Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 21(5), 1006-1015, Atkins, 19956.Stretching the boundaries with new latex-free policy, Harris, N; Roper J, 2003,Occupational Health, Volume 55, no.1, 19-21ThemedplacementsNottinghamOccupational Health placements include internal visits/sessions with:–Infection control team–Health and safety team–Lectures on manual handling, DSE, first aid, risk assessment etc–Visits to income-generating companies including a bakery and lead factory–University siteNottinghamTrent University placements included internal visits/sessions with:–Health and safety department–Personnel department–Physiotherapy–Lectures on risk assessment, DSE, manual handling etc–Agricultural college and satellite site, which includes life sciences, sportsscience, and labsKatherineHoeglund’s experiencesBeforestarting the placement, I did not even know what OH was or how relevant itwould be. I had attended a few times for my hepatitis B vaccinations and thatwas about it.Iwas a bit worried I would not enjoy it, mainly because I thought it might be abit boring. However, having now completed five weeks on placement, I havethoroughly enjoyed it. More so than on any other placement, the importance ofpolicies and procedures has become evident.Myconfidence in undertaking health screenings has soared and I’ve been able tomake links with theory and practice; in other words, my understanding behindnursing actions.Thevariety of the placement surprised me, with a lot of visits to externalcompanies and other OH departments in different fields – vaccinations,audiology, vitalagraph and vision testing, first aid training, health andsafety risk assessment training, blood-borne virus lectures, back carelectures, and infection control training to name but a few. Theskills I have learned on this placement are highly relevant and transferable tofuture roles. I would highly recommend this placement to other students. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Practice makes perfectOn 1 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

The yardstick of safe practice

first_img Previous Article Next Article Inthe 9th annual Ruth Alston lecture, organised by the Association ofOccupational Health Nurse Practitioners (AOHNP), barrister Diana Kloss examinesthe legal liability of the occupational health professionalIam not, and do not purport to be, a health professional. However, for manyyears I have been interested and involved in healthcare law, especially in thefield of OH. Ruth Alston, whom I knew, was particularly interested in the roleof OH in business.Ihave been asked to explore the issue of how far the potential legal liabilityof the occupational health nurse (OHN) has both positive and negative economiceffects on the business.Itis well established that the liability of the employer, both under the criminallaw of health and safety and the civil law of compensation, has importanteconomic effects.Risesin premiums for employer liability insurance and the proposal that the cost ofNHS treatment for staff injured at work should be borne by the negligentemployer are some of the recent actual and potential examples of the financialburdens on business of legal liability. Ofcourse, the costs of preventative measures are also expensive items on thebalance sheet. It was for this reason that health and safety at work was withinthe competence of the European Union, and the European Coal and Steel Communitybefore it, from the very beginning. It was recognised that the protection ofworkers was a costly matter, and that companies throughout Europe should operateon a level playing field.Inthis lecture, I am concerned not with the liability of the employer, but thatof the nurse. Their potential liabilities arise in the following key areas:–Criminal law–Civil law of negligence–Employment laws, particularly the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)–Professional liability, as policed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)–The duty to the employer under the contract of employment.Dutiesunder criminal lawTheseare principally imposed by the Health and Safety at Work Act and regulationsmade there under. Most of the legal obligations are imposed on the employer,but there are duties imposed on employees as well.Section7, which obliges employees to co-operate with the employer in caring for theirown health and safety and that of others, is one example, as is section 36:“Where the commission by any person of an offence under any of the relevantstatutory provisions is due to the act or default of some other person, thatother person shall be guilty of an offence, and a person may be charged with,and convicted of, the offence by virtue of this subsection, whether or notproceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person”.InHealth and Safety Executive v Lockwood, Stephen Lockwood was an occupationalhygienist working as a consultant in a woodworking factory.1 An inspectordiscovered that the levels of airborne dust were over the legal limits, thusputting the employer on the wrong side of the law (the COSHH Regulations).Thefault lay with the hygienist, who had failed to comply with the standards andprocedures recommended by his profession. Following the case, he undertookfurther training modules.Theemployer was issued with an improvement notice, but was not prosecuted. Aprosecution was brought before the Stafford magistrates against the hygienist,who was found not to be competent as required by the management regulations. Hewas fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.Ihave been informed by a senior doctor at the Employment Medical AdvisoryService that similar prosecutions have been considered against OHprofessionals, though none have yet reached the courts.Whatamounts to competence? There are several guides as to the need for competenceand how it may be obtained.2 The practitioner must have appropriatequalifications, an understanding of current best practice, an awareness of thelimits of their knowledge and experience, and must stay up-to-date. The morecomplicated the task, the higher the level of knowledge and experiencerequired.Outsidethe law of health and safety, general criminal law will also impact on thepractitioner. For example, the law of manslaughter has been used by the CrownProsecution Service on a number of occasions in recent years to prosecutedoctors and nurses guilty of gross negligence. Nurses must also, of course,take care to comply with laws relating to dangerous and controlled drugs.Itis important to note there can be no insurance against potential criminalliability, though insurance against the legal costs of defending a criminalcharge is permitted.Dutiesunder the civil lawThetort of negligence imposes a duty of care on all health professionals to takereasonable care. It is more common for health professionals to be sued in thecivil courts than to be prosecuted. Therefore, I strongly advise any healthprofessional to take out legal liability insurance and not to rely on theemployer, whose interests may conflict with those of the nurse.  Membershipof the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and other trade unions includes insuranceas a benefit of membership. In 2003, insurance through the Medical DefenceUnion for AOHNP members was £135 for £10m cover. This compares very favourablywith the costs of employer liability insurance. Up to now, I know of no casewhere an OHN has been sued, but there is always a first time.Theemployer is only legally (vicariously) liable for a nurse if they are directlyemployed. In theory, the employer made liable for the negligence of a nursecould call upon the negligent nurse to reimburse them.Employmentlaws, such as the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, also impose dutieson health professionals.  Section 57 ofthe DDA states: “A person who knowingly aids another person to do an unlawfulact is to be treated as himself doing the same kind of unlawful act… Anemployee or agent… shall be taken to have aided the employer or principal to dothe act”.InLondon Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham v Farnsworth, a job applicant suedboth the employer and the self-employed occupational physician for unlawfullydiscriminating against her by turning her down for a job as a social worker.3Shehad a history of depression that, in the physician’s view, made it likely thatshe would have a sickness absence that was longer than average.Thetribunal held that both were liable because there had been insufficientconsideration of the fact that Farnsworth had recovered from her depression andhad held down a job for a reasonable period before applying to the council.Onappeal, the court exonerated the doctor because the only route whereby shecould be held liable was section 57, and the tribunal had not considered thatsection. Had the case been properly argued, the doctor might have been requiredto pay damages in addition to the employer’s liability.Dutiesto the professionAserious breach of the nurse’s professional Code of Conduct might lead to theloss of a career as well as a job.4TheProfessional Conduct Committee has the power to strike a nurse off the registerfor breaching the code. In my experience, nurses are more fearful of thissanction than any other.Arecent case was that of Jose Deogee, an OH nurse in Scotland, who was struckoff for purchasing prescribed drugs without authorisation. At the time, a spokespersonfor the NMC said it was very unusual for an OHN to appear before theProfessional Conduct Committee.Dutiesto the employer  Ifthe nurse is employed under a contract of employment, they are an employee. Ifthey work as a self-employed consultant, they have a contract with the employerto provide a reasonably efficient service, but not a contract of employment.Seriousmisconduct or incompetence may lead to a fair dismissal of an employee, but theduty to the employer is not absolute. The nurse is entitled to refuse to breakthe law or their Code of Ethics, since their necessary compliance with thesewill be an implied term in their contract.Ihave received several e-mails from OHNs who are being subjected to pressure,even threat of the sack, by personnel departments who are demanding access toconfidential records without the consent of the worker in question.Itis crystal clear that the nurse has a legal and ethical duty to preserve theworker’s confidence. Where the employer cannot obtain consent, it will have toobtain a court order, except in exceptional cases where the interests of othersoverride consent, such as where the worker is endangering others.Isthe nurse’s fear of legal action damaging to the effectiveness and costs of anOH service, or is it a valuable deterrent to poor practice? Does it lead todefensive medicine, such as unnecessary tests or x-rays?–I am not aware of any research on this issue in OH – perhaps it should beundertaken. But there is research into the practice of defensive medicine inother healthcare settings.Defensivemedicine was defined by Lord Pitt in the House of Lords, on 10 November 1987,as follows: “If doctors are to face these awards of severe damages they have tomake sure of their defence. You are always better off in the witness box if youcan say that you have done all the tests that are considered necessary… Thatmeans that one is wasting resources”.Ithas been alleged that, for example, the rise in the number of babies born byCaesarean section is due to the fear of litigation against obstetricians, butthe evidence is that convenience and the mother’s fear of a natural birth aremore likely to be the cause.5Inany event, health professionals are judged by the standard of a reasonablepractitioner (a system of peer review), so that reductions in tests andprocedures need not give rise to legal liability if the changes are discussedwithin the profession and receive the support of a reasonable body ofpractitioners.Thecall for ‘evidence-based medicine’ should be heard by OHNs along with theircolleagues in other specialties. It is important in my view for the professionto agree on standards as far as possible, and establish a recognised ‘bestpractice’. It can only be for the benefit of both employer and workers that thenurse feels constrained by the fear of legal liability to achieve the standardsset by the profession.Ithas been suggested to me that unethical OH consultants occasionally leademployers to believe that tests are legally required when that is not the case.If this is true, it might constitute an actionable or even criminalmisrepresentation, and a potential breach of the ethical rules of theprofession.Doesthe fear of legal proceedings restrict OH professionals in what they reveal tothe employer, thus causing economic damage to the business?–Most of the enquiries I receive from OHNs concern the duty ofconfidentiality, and there is no doubt that many employers see OH personnel asbeing unreasonably secretive.Here,there is a conflict between the interests of the employer and of the worker.The ethical duties of health professionals primarily protect the worker ratherthan the employer, but this is necessary to ensure that staff are willing toconfide in them. Without this trust, no health professional can do a goodjob.  However,employers see OH records as their property and are frustrated when they aredenied access. I have been told that some employers wish to classify nurses asOH advisers to try to avoid professional ethics, but I need hardly say thatthis must be strongly resisted.Therecent publication by the Royal College of Nursing of a Code of Confidentialityfor OHNs will give them some support against a predatory employer.6Iwould argue that a good OH service is of economic benefit to the employer inhelping to prevent work-related ill-health, advising on the rehabilitation ofworkers who have become disabled and assisting in the reduction of sicknessabsence. Confidentiality is an essential concomitant of such a service.Doesthe fear of legal proceedings limit the practice of OHNs because they areunhappy about assuming a more responsible role, or because employers or doctorsare unhappy about taking on more responsibility, thus making the OH serviceless effective?–Here, the NMC and the RCN play a central role in encouraging and supportingnurses to undertake tasks for which they are competent.7Onetopic often debated is whether a nurse is competent to make a diagnosis,regarded in the past as the prerogative of the medical profession.Itis proposed in the new general practitioner contract which is to be introducedin April 2004, that GPs should no longer have any legal obligation to certifysickness absence after seven days.8Itis envisaged that OH departments, among others, will take over this function.It is likely that OHNs will sign sicknotes. Will they give a diagnosis of thereason for absence, or will they merely state whether the worker is fit orunfit to do the job? Clinical details cannot be given without consent. Since OHhas no clinical function, will it be necessary to inform the GP of the givingof the sicknote? Again, this cannot be done without consent.Iam aware that I have raised more questions than I have answered, but I hope Ihave stimulated debate among the profession. The answer to the question posedin the lecture’s title appears to be that legal liability is a deterrent topoor practice.Andalthough human resources professionals may not always agree, if it setsparameters within which the nurse should operate, then this is for the benefitof both the employer and the employee in the long-term. References1.Piney,Exposure assessment and control (2002) 95 Occupational Health Review 1892.Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations ACOP and Guidance (1999),paragraphs 51 and 52; HSE (1998) Outline map on competence training andcertification; HSE (2000) guidance for employers on how to get advice on healthand safety3.[2000] IRLR 6914.Code of Professional Conduct – Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002) London5.Medical Negligence: Competence and Accountability – Ham, Dingwall, Fenn, Harris(1988), King’s Fund, London6.Confidentiality – RCN Guide for occupational health nurses (2003), RCN, www.rcn.org.uk7.Qualified to practise? – Robson, (2001) 94 Occupational Health Review 168.GMSContract 2003; Green Paper, Pathways to Work, Stationery Office The yardstick of safe practiceOn 1 Jan 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

The last word

first_imgThe last wordOn 1 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Trainer and writer John Charlton explains why he feels lukewarm towardsice-breakersPicture the scene: deep in the bowels of Chequers, it’s anotherinner-cabinet-plus-special-advisers training weekend. “Right, ” says the Prime Minister. “Instead of telling usyour first name and why you’re here, I want you to give us the name of yourfavourite breed of dog and the judge you admire most. I’ll start the ballrolling. Today team, I’m Poodle Hutton.” Utterly ridiculous? Maybe. But not so different from one or two ice-breakersI’ve been subjected to. These include being asked to say what my name would beif I combined a favourite pet’s moniker with my mother’s surname – a stuntguaranteed to amuse the many and embarrass a few. Rover O’Neill may be fine forporn, but not a serious training course. More of a nutcracker than anice-breaker. Ice-breakers should be to trainers what warm-up acts are to comedians.They’re there to break down barriers and focus minds on the main event. The trick is to choose an ice-breaker which fits not just the composition ofthe group in question but also the mood, the time-of-day, the subject at hand ,the duration of the course and the trainer’s objectives. They tend to be something that training managers leave to trainers. Don’t.Delegates are likely to remember an inappropriate ice-breaker long afterthey’ve forgotten about the course. For health and safety reasons, energisers are best limited to throwingsponge balls at the delegates to get them to move around and swap places. Think long and hard before allowing an outdoor triathlon. My sole memory ofa management course many years ago is of a mature senior manager beingstretchered away after breaking an ankle during an ‘energising’ rounders gameon an uneven Kentish lawn. Moral: there’s no such thing as non-competitiveenergisers for managers. Which ice-breaker would you recommend? Send your favourite ice-breaker [email protected] If weprint your ideas, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Recruitment: Why the long……….process?

first_imgRecruitment: Why the long……….process?Shared from missc on 9 Dec 2014 in Personnel Today What’s with the long, arduous multi-stage recruitment processes that seem to be increasingly common place these days? When chatting to job seekers I find that a 6 stage (or more) recruitment process that may incorporate psychometric testing, multiple technical tests, cultural evaluations, competency based screening (to name a few), is nothing out of the ordinary and I can’t help but wonder if it’s necessary?Has the length, rigorousness or even quirkiness of a company’s recruitment process become a marketing tool to tell the world that what lies beyond this extensive screening must be worth all the work and effort put in?I believe that in this day and age we should be striving to create efficiencies, thus not being on-board with what seems to me to be an in-efficient waste of time. The only thing I believe you can be certain of after a 6-8 stage process is just how keen the candidate is on the position/company given the willingness to stick around for that long. I don’t believe that you will gain any more of an in-sight into their suitability to the position, over a well put together 2 stage interview process where the questioning is intelligent, relevant to the role and type of person you are looking to hire, which may or may not include a specific skills based test. Specific preparation is key! Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed.center_img Read full article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

HR: Why The IQ/EQ balance is important

first_imgRead full article When hiring a new staff member, what are the key criteria you look for outside of the competence or experience in fulfilling the job description?We live in an age of collaboration and knowledge sharing and so the ability to positively influence situations and navigate your way around day to day scenarios with tact and diplomacy are fundamental to success. Intelligence, experience and skill are essential for success but we must stop thinking of intelligence as knowledge gained in academia. It is now widely accepted that the most successful among us have a blend of IQ and EQ, the proportions of which are widely disputed. We define and measure EQ in 5 areas. They are Self-awareness/self-control, Empathy, Social skills, Personal Influence & Motivation. So how do you screen for EQ? Here are a few questions that may help:Tell me about a time when your actions positively impacted someone else?Have you ever been in a situation where you realised that you have had to change or modify your behaviour? How did you notice this?Tell me about a time you have had to prepare yourself for a situation you knew would be negative. What did you do? How did it work out?Have you ever received criticism? What was it? Were you surprised?Tell me about a time that you were angry with someone at work. What did you do?Situational questioning will require you to observe not just the answer but how the interviewee is answering and how comfortable they are with the questions, but you will be ensuring best possible chance of securing a well-rounded professional who will flourish and succeed in a broader range of environments and circumstances. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.center_img HR: Why The IQ/EQ balance is importantShared from missc on 23 Feb 2015 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more