Guide

Occupational health and welfare

Occupational health risks

You should consider anything which affects your employees' welfare as an occupational health issue:

  • Smoking, drug and alcohol abuse - not only can an addiction affect a person's performance, their behaviour can impact on colleagues. It is also against the law to smoke in workplaces and company vehicles used by more than one person. See workplace policies on smoking, drugs and alcohol.
  • Stress - excessive pressure, work concerns or personal problems can affect your employees' mental, social and physical well-being. See how to deal with stress.
  • Back pain and repetitive strain injury (RSI) - a variety of lifting, repetitive and other kinds of work, including computer work, can result in injury or longer-term disability. Good workstation design can help reduce the risks. See prevent repetitive strain injury at  workcomputer health and safety at work and safety of workplace machinery, equipment and tools.
  • Control of hazardous substances - using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work can put people's health at risk. You must control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill-health. See managing hazardous substances.
  • Disease prevention and control - you should promote good health and take measures to reduce the risks of diseases, infections and allergies. See diseases, infections and allergies in the workplace.
  • Heat, light, noise and vibration - consider exposure to sudden changes in temperature, poor lighting and excessive vibration or noise levels. 
  • Radiation - exposure to radiation (ionising and non-ionising) is a risk in manufacturing, construction, engineering and education occupations as well as medical and dental practices and the nuclear industry. 
  • Violence, bullying and harassment - physical violence or psychological intimidation can have a serious impact on an employee's well-being. An effective discipline and grievance procedure is essential in tackling such problems. See bullying and harassment and disciplinary procedures, hearings and appeals. You should also take steps to protect employees from harassment from both other staff and third parties such as customers and suppliers.
  • Work-life balance - working practices help employees achieve a better balance between their work and personal lives which can increase their productivity at work. See promote good work/life balance in your business.