Awarded 3 year Public Health Agency contract to support workplaces in the Western Trust Area

Health@Work NI have provided health and wellbeing support for over 100 workplaces for the past 13 years throughout the Western Trust area.

We have been awarded a new 3 year Public Health Agency contract (2016 – 2019) to support workplaces in the Western Trust Area.

Our FREE services include:

  • Access and support on how to use Public Health Agencies ‘workplace health resources’ and ‘online health needs assessment’ for staff
  • Support to develop a health and wellbeing action plan
  • Workplace Health Champion training for staff
  • Support to set up health and wellbeing initiatives
  • Volunteering opportunities for staff nearing retirement
  • Opportunities to link in with community/charity causes
  • Support and resources to promote local and regional health and wellbeing campaigns for example;  No Smoking Day,  Physical Activity Fortnight, Care in the Sun Week,  Bike to Work Day
  • Stress Audit for staff

If you are interested in hearing more about what support and training we can offer you please Download & Complete the Workplace Health Registration form below and we will be in contact with you in due course to discuss your individual requirements.


Supporting Emotional Wellbeing in the Workplace Event

Press Release  

10 December 2015


Derry Healthy Cities – Health@Work NI and CLEAR Project both funded by the Public Health Agency, recently hosted a half day seminar and networking event for employers, the purpose of the event was to raise awareness of local mental health service providers and provide an opportunity for employers to network. The event was a huge success attended by over 50 workplaces and feedback was fantastic.

The event focused on providing employers with support and advice on helping employees who are at work with a mental illness and support for employees that have a mental illness to return to work. There was a number of speakers and the day finished with a speed networking exercise which proved to be very successful.

Shauna Houston (Director of Derry Healthy Cities) said:

“The average person spends approximately a 1/3 of their waking life at work. In targeting the workplace setting we can therefore get key health and well-being information to a large portion of the population. I commend encourage employers for attending this events as it will serve to add to the productivity and employee retention of their workplace in the long term.

“We are delighted to support this event as it will enable proactive employers to understand and support those employees who want to work despite having a mental illness. Most employers recognise that their employees are their key resource, so events like this will allow employers to hold on to the skills and experience of that resource for as long as possible.


Notes to editor:

Health@Work NI is a Derry Healthy Cities Initiative funded by the Public Healthy Agency.   Established in 2004 it is the longest established workplace health programme of its kind in Northern Ireland, dedicated to improving the health of employees in Derry/Londonderry, Strabane and Limavady council areas.

See our website for further information.

The CLEAR Project was commissioned as an Integrated Community Development Project as part of “Protect Life” the Northern Ireland Suicide Prevention Strategy (2006) which seeks to reduce the suicide
rate in Northern Ireland. CLEAR represents a unique partnership initiative which offers developmental opportunities to community & voluntary organisations providing mental health & emotional well-being services in the west.

The CLEAR Project serves Community & voluntary organisations providing mental health, emotional well-being and suicide support services within the west of Northern Ireland i.e. Derry, Limavady, Strabane, Omagh & Fermanagh district council areas

See our website

Derry Healthy Cities (DHC) is a leading public health NGO operating a range of community health interventions across the West of the province and cross border. Established in 1992 we are the longest serving inter-sectoral partnership operating in the NW of Ireland. Our Mission is ‘To improve the overall quality of, and reduce inequalities within, the physical; social; and mental health of our communities.” As the City’s lead strategic organisation in improving public health DHC was designated by the World Health Organisation in 2009 as a Healthy City Project and has been agreed as a strategic facilitator for two of the eleven catalyst projects in the ‘One Regeneration Plan’ for Derry (Early Intervention City and Health for All).

The PHA was established in 2009 under a major reform of health structures in Northern Ireland. They are a multi-disciplinary, multi-professional body with a strong regional and local presence and have four key functions:

  • health and social wellbeing improvement;
  • health protection;
  • public health support to commissioning and policy development;
  • HSC research and development.


PHA were set up to provide a renewed and enhanced focus on public health and wellbeing by bringing together a wide range of public health functions under one organisation.

Derry Healthy Cities

Lilac villa

Gransha Park


BT47 6TG





smoker-1457305-639x497SMOKING FACTS

Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of death in the world today. There are more than one billion smokers worldwide – that’s one quarter of all adults – and it’s killing up to half the people who smoke.
In Northern Ireland, around 340,000 people aged 16 and over smoke.

Smoking contributes to not only many cancers, heart disease, bronchitis and asthma, but other illnesses, including stroke, which causes around 2,400 deaths per year here, all of them avoidable.

Cigarette smoking is also recognised as a major cause of health inequalities in lower socioeconomic groups and is estimated to account for around 50% of the health inequalities gap. One million working days are lost each year in Northern Ireland due to smoking. However, the good news is the risk of serious disease starts dropping as soon as you stop smoking. Breathing becomes easier and improves as lung function increases, and within one year of quitting, a person’s risk of a heart attack is halved.
The cost to the smoker is clear, with a 20-a-day habit amounting to around £2,000 a year.

Smokers in Northern Ireland spend on average 15% of their income on their habit, and for smokers who are in the lower socioeconomic groups, this equates to a much higher proportion. Smoking in pregnancy is associated with a range of negative outcomes.

Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth, and are more likely to have a baby with low birth weight. (


  • Participate in No Smoking Day and provide employees with information about giving up.
  • Provide information about smoking cessation services that are available locally.
  • Some employers offer active support to employees who are trying to quit, for example: by having a smoking cessation support available during working hours. Indeed an employee can be trained as a Smoking Cessation Advisor. Contact the Smoking Cessation Co-ordinator listed below for further information. Arrange a smoking cessation support group at lunch time.

The workplace smoking cessation service has been set up to provide a free service for employers across Northern Ireland

Northern Area

Gillian McAtackney
028 2587 2866

  • Antrim
  • Ballymena
  • Ballymoney
  • Carrickfergus
  • Coleraine
  • Cookstown
  • Larne
  • Magherafelt
  • Moyle
  • Newtownabbey

Eastern Area

Bernie Neeson
028 9066 3281

  • Ards
  • Ballynahinch
  • Bangor
  • Castlereagh
  • Downpatrick
  • Dundonald
  • Lisburn
  • Newcastle
  • North Down

Western Area

Mary Campbell

  • Derry/Londonderry
  • Limavady
  • Strabane

Kathleen Mc Manus

  • Fermanagh
  • Omagh

Southern Area

Siobhan O’Brien
02837 414557

  • All areas

Ciara Burke
028 8772 0366

  • Armagh
  • Dungannon

Frances Haughey

  • Banbridge
  • Craigavon

Belfast Area

Denise Stevenson 07824875458 or 02890 320202 Ext. 3768

  • Belfast South

Policy Development Implementation

policy developmentA healthy policy sets out what your business, in partnerships with its employees, will do to promote health.


Workplace health promotion policies should be clearly written so that there is no misunderstanding regarding their content. Try to keep it simple.
No two business are the same, it is impossible to have standard policies for health issues like mental health, healthy eating,substance misuse etc. Your policies should be developed to suit the particular structure, organisation and ethos of your business.
Workplace health promotion policies should be integral to the overall health and safety policy of your business. They should be linked to other elements of health promotion in the workplace. Policies should be applicable to all personnel, regardless of age, sex, ethnic origin or grade. Each policy should include a clear statement on the roles and responsibilities of each group of employees and management within the organisation.

Developing a workplace health promotion policy is based upon the following key steps:
Step One – Set up a working party

This group needs representation from all levels within the organisation, with people from:

  • Senior management
  • Trade union
  • Health and safety
  • Personnel
  • Occupational health
  • Staff representatives
Step Two – Inform the workforce

Inform employees about the process that is occurring. It is useful at this stage to identify what is already happing in relation to health issues, e.g. your business may already have a mental health policy.

Step Three – Consult with the workforce

Employees must be consulted about their needs and have their say. This will also help address concerns and difficulties. Large businesses may wish to conduct a survey,where as small business may arrange meetings, focus groups.

Step Four – Write the policy

Devise a draft policy and circulate this to the workforce. All employees should receive a copy of the proposed policy. This gives employees the opportunity to comment and suggest changes. The policy should then be revised and employees should be given notice of changes and the date of introduction.

A policy should contain:

  • Organisations commitment to the management of health and wellbeing
  • Outline the roles and responsibilities of employees and management
  • Provide sources of support
• Outline procedures for recording and monitoring
  • Encourage motivation and commitment amongst the work (appointment of a health champion to support health promotion activities)
  • Partnership working
• Outline organisations legal obligations
Step Five – Implement the policy

Once the period of consultation has ended the final document has been written, the policy should be launched and followed up with awareness sessions regarding the content of the policy. Promote the policy throughout the workplace.

Step Six – Review the policy

Regularly monitor the policy to gauge its effectiveness. This review should lead to the policy being updated.


Musculoskeletal Disorders

Back Pain at WorkMusculoskeletal disorders are the most common physical work- related problems in the UK and in particular back pain, neck and shoulder pain and upper/lower limb disorders.

The main causes of MSD’s in the workplace are: repetitive work, poor posture, excessive force, lifting and carrying heavy loads, strenuous pushingand pulling,and standing and sitting for long periods.

Employers have a key role in the management and treatment of MSD’s by setting up an ergonomic programme encouraging employees to report problems immediately to ensure early intervention; providing access to occupational health services, and organising appropriate adjustments and support to assist in retention and rehabilitation of employees.
Employees can help in the prevention of MSD@s by leading an active and healthy lifestyle, adopting good posture, taking breaks, using the correct lifting techniques and reporting any problems they experience.


  • 1 in 5 will not return to work after just 4 weeks of absence ( Health at Work 2011)
  • After being off work for 6 months only 1 in 5 return to work ( NICE 2009)
  • After 2yrs+ on IB a person is more likely to die or retire than to return to work again ! (NICE 2009) & (HM Government 2005b)
  • The problem of workers being on the job, but because of illness or other medical conditions, not fully functioning, can cut individual productivity by one third or more.’ Paul Kemp , 2004
  • In one year it is estimated that 572’000 people suffered from MSD’s caused or made worse by work.
  • An estimated 9.3million working days are lost through work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • On average each person suffering from a work related musculoskeletal disorder took an estimated 16.3 days of work


  • Encourage employees not to hide health conditions, have open and honest lines of communication, help them overcome their ‘ fear’ that disclosure/ asking for help in work may ultimately = job loss
  • Remember no two people with the same condition are the same ,pain levels fluctuate, as do the personality characteristics, beliefs, attitudes and values of each employee
  • Discuss simple‘ adjustments’ before situations deteriorate; e.g. ‘movement breaks’, flexible hours, adjusted duties for a short period, consider ergonomic assessment, advice, support and equipment via the Access to Work Programme.
  • Provide information to employees relating to pain management
  • Be mindful of work life balance and life stressors and support that’s available for help

Regular reviews with employee are essential, chronic pain doesn’t disappear, be aware of the issue of presenteeism ,your employee will sustain work longer and perform better with your support

Ensure good information is available on health conditions – via national self-help websites;

Condition specific websites e.g.

Condition Management Programme (CMP)

CMP is a work-focused, health rehabilitation programme which helps people better understand and manage their conditions. Delivered by health care professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Mental Healt hNurses, it does not provide treatment but offers information, advice and support on an individual and/or group basis. CMP is available to DEL clients in receipt of ESA and jobseekers allowance.
For more information check out


Health at Work – An Independent Review of Sickness Absence, Black & Frost, 2011

Working for a Healthier Tomorrow – Black, 2008

NICE Guidelines 19, Managing Long Term Sickness Absence and Incapacity for Work (July 2008)

No-one written off, Reforming Welfare to reward responsibility Boorman (August 2009)

Health and Wellbeing at Work in the UK

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and


Mental Health

mental healthMental Health is the foundation for our healthandwellbeing. It gives us the ability to cope with every day pressures and manage change in our lives. The way staff are managed can impact significantly upon their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Mental ill-health or distress is a major cause of sickness absence from work, reduced productivity and staff turnover, stress is a biggest cause of a lot of mental ill-health, especially anxiety and depression. It makes good business sense to protect and promote the mental health of your employees.


Nearly 3 in every 10 employees will have a mental health problem in any one-year the great majority of which will be anxiety and depressive disorders. 91 million working days a year are lost to mental ill-health Stress and poor mental health can lead to low productivity, accidents, high staff turnover, poor working relationships, low morale and job dissatisfaction. Stress is the highest cause of absenteeism in the workplace after musculoskeletal disorders.


Employers also have legal obligations towards their staff. The main areas of legislation that relate to mental wellbeing in the workplace are:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASWA)
  • Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA)
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)
  • Equality Act 2010.

Health and safety laws ensure workers have the right to work in a safe environment where risks to health and wellbeing are considered and dealt with efficiently. It also ensures a responsibility to cooperate with legislation. If the mental health condition has a substantial, long-term adverse effect on someone’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities then they will be covered by the Equality Act.

Note that disabled people don’t have to disclose that they have an impairment.

The Equality Act aims to end the discrimination that many people face on protected characteristics including disability in employment and other areas. The Equality Act replaces the Disability Discrimination Act.

  • Devise and communicate a workplace policy on mental health to support both the employer and employee and outlining the organisations commitment to the health of its employees
  • Raise awareness of mental wellbeing and reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health
  • Make adjustments to the working environment, workload, hours, that adversely affects mental wellbeing, while the employee is at work or is returning to work after a mental illness.
  • Develop action plans to promote mental and emotional wellbeing and reduce stress.
  • Encourage early recognition of problems amongst the entire workforce
  • Provide published systems of support
  • Provide information and training e.g. train managers in Mental Health First Aid so they can recognise the signs and symptoms at an early stage.
  • Introduce policies on work life balance options such as time of in lieu, job sharing and flexi time.
  • Have an open door policy so the employee feels they will be listened to if they have a problem, creating a culture of openness.
  • Carry out a stress audit and develop an effective plan of action, there are organisations who can help with this process.


  • Reduced staff turnover and better staff retention
  • Increased productivity and performance
  • Improved working relationships
  • Increased self-worth and confidence
  • Enhanced reputation as an employer
  • Better employee engagement
  • Improved morale
  • Reduced sick absence


Lifeline: 0808 808 8000

Disability employment helpline: 0800 528 0462

Health and Safety Executive (EMAS) Employment Medical Advisory Service:

Employment Service Access to Work Scheme Health and Safety Executive – Stress Management Standards

Aware Defeat Depression

Action Mental Health

Equality commission


Healthy Eating

Healthy EatingA healthy diet is important in maintaining good health and can help to reduce the risk of some cancers, coronary heart disease and diabetes.

The economic consequences of unhealthy eating can be severe, they are reflected in costs to employees for absenteeism, reduced productivity and disability.

£16.85billion is the estimated cost of poor eating habits to employers in the each year, which includes cost of loss of productivity due to lack of concentration through skipping breakfast.

Promoting healthy eating is part of promoting health in the workplace, you can make simple changes and put measures in place to encourage healthier eating.


The cost of people being obese and overweight is estimated at up to£7.4 billion per year. Obesity can increase the risk of stroke, diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD) Only 33% of people eat there 5 a day in NI. (HSNI 2013/2014)
In Northern Ireland there are 67% of males and 56% females overweight or obese. (HSNI2013/2014) More than one in five adults in the UK are classified as obese and this proportion is predicated to rise by
47% for men and 36% for women by 2035.


  • Have healthy affordable eating options in the canteen, vending machines or during meetings.
  • Identify healthy options on menus
  • Provide literature and posters on the benefits of healthy eating
  • Provide educational sessions or practical programme on good healthy eating
  • Devise a healthy eating policy
  • Have a clean and hygienic kitchen/canteen
  • Time available for breaks
  • Promote and participate in local healthy eating campaigns
  • Provide fresh clean drinking water
  • Start up a walking club at lunch and allow extra time for employees to participate in activities.
  • Provide a fridge, microwave/cooker and utensils to enable staff to prepare healthy fresh lunches.


Healthy Eating can;

  • Reduce the risk of becoming overweight and obese and help maintain and healthy weight
  • Promote better sleep
  • Elevate mood and self esteem
  • Improve attention span
  • Reduce the risk of developing diabetes,high blood pressure and some cancers
  • Protect against some colds and flu
  • Increase energy
  • This can lead to improved employee morale, decreased absenteeism, higher productivity and lower health care costs.



British Heart Foundation
Food Standards Agency