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Health Works: A Review of the Scottish Government's Healthy Working Lives Strategy



The Centre operates a free and confidential advice line providing advice on a range of workplace health and safety and occupational health issues. During 2008-09 it handled a total of 3692 enquiries and during first quarter of 2009-10 the advice line handled 819 enquiries from a wide range of organisations from individuals through small and medium sized enterprises to large public sector and corporate bodies.

The website also carries information on a wide range of workplace issues, from fire safety to compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act, and gets typically over 20,000 visits per month.

The Centre has a network of 14.7 FTE Occupational Health and Safety Healthy Working Lives advisers that offer site visits to small and medium sized enterprises to provide advice on health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. During 2008-09 there were 502 first time visits and 376 follow up/other visits to workplaces requiring further support. During first quarter of 2009 the advisers have made 130 first-time visits and 72 follow-up/other visits to workplace premises.

The Centre also has 49.5 FTE Health Improvement Healthy Working Lives advisers who promote the Healthy Working Lives Award to employers. These advisers support organisations to meet the criteria for achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commendation award. In addition they provide expert advice and guidance on a range of health improvement matters, such as, smoking cessation, mental health and health needs assessments. The advice is delivered either through one-to-one visits or training sessions and workshops. There are currently almost 300 Healthy Working Lives award holders, including the Scottish Government's Gold, and almost 1100 organisations working towards awards. Together this covers almost 640,000 employees.

The Centre has developed a model for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to those in work that develop common health conditions (principally musculoskeletal problems and mild to moderate mental health issues). The service is aimed at those working for small and medium sized enterprises that do not have access to in-house occupational health support. This model is being piloted in three areas (Dundee, Lothians and the Borders).

The Centre offers training courses to employers in developing mentally healthy workplaces. This training is delivered in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and is aimed at helping managers to understand how they can improve workplace mental wellbeing.

Following its establishment the Centre took on responsibility for delivering a significant number of actions arising from the Scottish Action Plan on Health and Safety, particularly around increasing emphasis on reaching small and medium sized enterprises, fire safety in the workplace and protecting public service workers from violence.