- Environmental Health
- Food Safety
- Consumer Safety
- Public Health & Housing
- Home Accident Prevention
- Health & Safety
Under the “Workwell Initiative”, Newtownabbey Borough Council is providing free information, advice and support to local businesses to encourage employers and their staff to start thinking about health as an important workplace issue.
Why is workplace health important?
The workplace is a setting where many people spend the largest proportion of their time. Sickness absenteeism is estimated to cost Northern Ireland £330 million per year. This figure can equate to £598 on average per employee per year. Employers can therefore play a key role in contributing to the health of their employees and in turn the health of their organisation. The health of the workforce, both physical and psychological, is a major contributor to the success of an organisation, and can enhance its performance and help the business to gain a competitive advantage.
What is the Workwell Initiative?
The Workwell Initiative is an innovative project that aims to support businesses in developing policies and programmes that will promote the health and wellbeing of their employees.
The new Public Health Agency (which incorporates the Health Promotion Agency) has piloted the Workwell Initiative with businesses and ais available for your review and examples of from a selection of participating workplaces.
Staff from Newtownabbey Borough Council can assist your business in going through the Workwell process. You will be provided with a free Healthy Workplace Guide along with support and guidance to enable you to assess your organisational and employee needs and to develop and implement a health action plan.
You may download the Healthy Workplace Guide in the “Useful Leaflets” section below, however you will need to contact us to gain access to the online employee questionnaire, which forms part of the needs assessment process.
What does the Initiative involve?
This proactive initiative will be addressing three key aspects of the workplace:
- Leadership and Management.
This looks at how your organisation operates and what you can do to have a positive impact on employee health and wellbeing. This will include ensuring that human resource policies are in place and that systems exist that will make employees’ working life better.
- Physical Environment.
This aspect seeks to ensure that your organisation is complying with health and safety legislation and that the working environment is pleasant and comfortable for employees.
- Health and Wellbeing.
This looks at issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, cancers, musculoskeletal disorders and stress.
What are the steps in the process?
There are several steps we will work through.
- The organisation will set up a working group to discuss what they are going to include in their healthy workplace programme and how to take it forward.
- Employees will be requested to complete the confidential online Workwell questionnaire. This will highlight what they want and need from the healthy workplace programme and will cover a variety of health areas. The collective results of the survey will directly feed into the development of the healthy workplace programme. An organisational health assessment will also be carried out which involves looking at the current health status of your business.
- An organisational health assessment will also be carried out which involves looking at the current health status of your business.
- The working group will meet to develop a health action plan from the findings. The action plan should reflect the three key aspects of Workwell and may include development of policies, improvements in the physical environment and arranging health and wellbeing activities for staff.
What are the benefits to employers?
- A reduction in illness-related absenteeism, fewer working days lost and therefore a long-term decline in the sickness rate.
- Increased motivation among staff and improvements in the working atmosphere in the company, leading to more flexibility, better communications and readiness to cooperate.
- A measurable increase in the quality of products and services, more innovation and creativity, and a rise in productivity.
- The prestige factor that improves the public image of the company and makes it more attractive as an employer.
- A change towards a healthier work culture.
What are the benefits to employees?
- Improved level of awareness of health and wellbeing issues.
- Knowledge and information to take back into their families and communities.
- Adopting a more positive attitude towards lifestyle and behaviour.
- Helping to motivate and support individuals to make healthier choices.
For further information on the Workwell Initiative or to speak to an advisor, please contact the Environment Services Department on Tel 028 9034 0160 or email.
Work Well: Healthy Workplace Guides
Promoting breastfeeding for mothers returning to work - A guide for employers
Promoting physical activity at work: A guide for employers
Promoting healthy eating at work: A simple guide for employers
Promoting positive mental health at work: A guide for employers
Useful Links for Health Promoting Workplaces
Department for Work and Pensions
Faculty of Public Health
Federation of Small Businesses
Public Health Agency - Healthy Workplaces
Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland
Health and Safety Executive
Investing for Health
Investors in People
Invest Northern Ireland