National Healthy Workplace Framework Ireland – a major new policy initiative
The Irish Ministry of health has launched a major new initiative of workplace health promotion just before Christmas 2021. This long-awaited framework has undergone an extensive period of development over recent years and the launce in December 2021 prepares the way for its implementation during 2022 and beyond.
The development of the National Healthy Workplace Framework is a priority in the implementation of the Healthy Ireland Strategic Action Plan. It recognises that workplaces have the potential to impact on the lives of a significant proportion of the population and currently there are over 2m in employment in Ireland. The development of this framework was overseen by the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. It is important to recognise that many workplaces in Ireland have already embraced the health and wellbeing agenda however the development of this new framework creates an opportunity to ensure it becomes embedded in the culture of all workplaces.
Development of Framework
The Framework is underpinned by robust evidence and public consultation as well as ongoing engagement with key stakeholders including the HSE, Health and Safety, Human Resources, Occupational Health and Academia. In order to build capacity for wellbeing in the workplace a Post Graduate Certificate on Workplace Wellness was developed by the National University of Ireland, Galway. To support the development of the course seed funding was provided by both Departments and the course has attracted interest from both public and private sectors. It is a part-time course delivered over one academic year and the fourth course commenced in September 2021.
The Framework was published in December 2021 and Healthy Ireland in the Department of Health have oversight and responsibility for implementation which will include the appointment of a National Implementation Group and the development of an Action Plan to guide the work for the next four years. This will include assigning leadership roles and responsibilities for implementation with key partners and the development of effective partnerships with other Government Departments and policy and programme leads to support health and wellbeing in the workplace.
There are seven key Objectives in the Framework:
- Build implementation structures
- Raise awareness
- Drive engagement
- Transform culture
- Provide supports
- Share good practice
- Drive quality improvement and ensure sustainability.
To inform the implementation an Options Appraisal was commissioned which involved reviewing the high-level objectives, gathering evidence, and engaging with key stakeholders who have a role in the implementation of the framework. A number of models of delivery have been identified taking account of national and international evidence as well as the priorities of stakeholders and the viability and sustainability of each model. The development of a website to support workplaces is also under development.
For more information, see: http://www.gov.ie/workplaceframework
First Spanish Corporate Chair in Occupational Health (2018-)
La Cátedra MAZ UNIZAR es la primera cátedra universitaria de empresa en Medicina del Trabajo en España y tiene entre sus objetivos promocionar la investigación científica de calidad en Medicina del Trabajo, contribuir a la actualización de conocimientos y potenciar la formación tanto general como continuada en Medicina del Trabajo en el ámbito sanitario, particularmente entre aquellos profesionales que habitualmente no poseen conocimientos específicos en esta materia como por ejemplo: Médicos de Familia, Oncólogos, Dermatólogos, etc. Asimismo, pretende también dar a conocer las actividades que desarrollan las Mutuas Colaboradoras de la Seguridad Social.
Desde su puesta en marcha en junio 2018 se han desarrollado Jornadas de actualización de conocimientos, conferencias y estudios científicos sobre cuestiones de gran actualidad e interés en Medicina del Trabajo y salud laboral. Además, ha otorgado ayudas de investigación y oferta periódicamente Premios “cátedra MAZ” de Medicina del Trabajo a la mejor Tesis doctoral, al mejor Trabajo de Fin de Máster y a los mejores Trabajos de Fin de Grado en materia de Medicina del Trabajo.
Durante el presente año 2021 desde la Cátedra MAZ UNIZAR se ofrecen además materiales docentes que se pretende que sean fácilmente accesibles y atractivos, de manera que los profesionales puedan llegar a ellos y utilizarlos de manera cómoda, flexible y autónoma, a través de plataformas online consolidadas y de uso ampliamente extendido, tales como Instagram , Twitter y YouTube la propia web de la cátedra MAZ. A lo largo de 2021 se llevarán a cabo nuevas conferencias, entrevistas y se pondrán a disposición materiales participados y desarrollados por profesionales de reconocido prestigio en ámbito de la Salud Laboral y Medicina del Trabajo.
The S.A.F.E. Programme – the Maltese prevention programme at the place of work
Agenzija Sedqa, the Maltese National Agency (within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services) that offers care and preventive services in the field of substance use and problem gambling, has been implementing the S.A.F.E. Programme in Maltese workplaces since 1996. The S.A.F.E. Programme has been implemented both in the public and private sector and over 26,000 participants, including employers, top management, middle management and employees in general have attended for the said programme.
What is the S.A.F.E. Programme?
Agenzija Sedqa’s strategy at the place of work focuses on raising awareness on substance abuse, addictions and self care at the workplace through its programme called S.A.F.E. - Substance Abuse-Free Employees Programme.
This programme focuses on the introduction or review of the company's Substance Abuse and Gambling Policy and the training of managers/supervisors and employees on addictions and self-care. It also provides a functional referral system to Agenzija Sedqa's Care services for employees who might be experiencing problems related to substance misuse and/or gambling that may be having an impact on the place of work.
What are the contents of the S.A.F.E. Programme?
The S.A.F.E. Programme consists of the following phases:
PHASE 1 – Exhibition (consisting of a roll-up banner that displays a preventive message and which is set up in a prominent place where all employees could see it).
PHASE 2 – Training sessions for management and supervisors (topics included are Alcohol and its effects, Drugs and their effects, Stress Management and Approaching the Problem Employee).
PHASE 3 – Informative sessions for employees (topics included are Alcohol and its effects, Drugs and their effects, Substance abuse and driving, Wise use of Technology, Gambling, Stress Management, Bullying at the workplace, Dealing with aggressive behaviour at the workplace and Skills for the Parent Employee).
PHASE 4 – Substance abuse and gambling policy
Although ideally each workplace would go through all the phases, the programme is designed to enable an enterprise to host one phase or more without going through the whole programme.
The S.A.F.E. Programme – Malta and beyond
Throughout the years the S.A.F.E. Programme maintained a very positive collaboration with the major Maltese Unions, Employers’ Associations and also other important stakeholders. During 2019, the Foundation for Social Welfare Services became a Corporate Partner with the Malta Employers Association.
The S.A.F.E. Programme sought to built networks even abroad throughout the years. In recent years the Senior Executive in charge of the S.A.F.E. Programme has attended an Exchange visit that was organized by Centrum Werk Gezondheid at A.T.S. Bergamo and following this, the Senior Executive together with members of the Prevention Team attended another exchange visit that she coordinated together with A.T.S. Bergamo. A very good collaboration was established with A.T.S. Bergamo and Dr. Moretti was invited to deliver a lecture during Sedqa’s S.A.F.E. Programme Appreciation Award Ceremony last November, whereby he shared his expertise regarding the Workplace Health Promotion Programme.
During 2019, an important milestone was that the Foundation for Social Welfare Services became a member with ENWHP.
The S.A.F.E. Programme looks forward to continue establishing networks in Malta and beyond so that it can learn from best practices abroad but it can also share the expertise that it has accumulated during the past years. After all, the S.A.F.E. Programme has been highlighted as a case study to be emulated by the European Working Conditions Observatory in its European-wide report regarding the ‘Use of alcohol and drugs at the Workplace’.
MS JOSIANNE AZZOPARDI – Senior Executive (Agenzija Sedqa Prevention Services)