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RR841 - Research to explore how medium sized organisations understand occupational health issues and manage health risk

The Health and Safety Executive commissioned GfK NOP to carry out research to understand how duty holders in medium sized organisations of 50 to 150 employees in the construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors understand and manage health risks and to gain insights into the best ways for HSE to engage with them on this issue with a view to developing tailored support.

The research shows that duty holders do not conventionally use the term 'occupational health' and indicates that while they are doing much to manage long term health risks, they do not separate health risk management from safety management. Management of long term health risks is seen as an integrated part of health and safety management. Therefore, any communications on this subject should avoid the term 'occupational health' and seek to address health risk management in the context of duty holders’ overall health and safety duties.

The research identifies three areas in which duty holders might require support and advice in their management of health risks. These are: employee engagement (how to communicate health risks to employees and ensure they act in accordance with proper procedures), resources (how to allocate resources to risk management appropriately and influence senior managers on this issue), and legislation (how to keep abreast of legislative and regulatory changes and act appropriately on these). HSE is seen as an appropriate provider of support and guidance on all of these issues and a range of delivery methods, including online, face-toface and postal communications are identified.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2011-02-25