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Health & Safety Lecture 2019 reflections

11th April 2019

Alan Herbert, Director of Health and Safety Consultancy, reflects on the success of our 27th annual Capita Health & Safety Lecture, that was this year themed around “Building for Wellbeing.”

The Government recently highlighted the critical importance of helping employees thrive at work. Statistics revealed that stress and poor mental health at work costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion per year. Upon reflection of these statistics I was excited to explore mental health and wellbeing at work and the measures that can be taken.

Our Health and Safety Lecture discussed how we can address this important topic, from tackling the stigma, upskilling the workforce and breaking down barriers in the workplace. But most importantly to promote mental health and implement changes that protects the wellbeing of employees and encourages a healthy workforce. With the help of three expert speakers we were able to draw both a vital understanding of wellbeing itself as well as effective measures that can implemented in the workplace.

Our first speaker Ann Marie Aguila, Director of Operations Europe at International WELL Building Institute, is an expert in environmental sustainability and wellbeing. She highlighted the key drivers for promoting wellbeing and the importance of creating the right environment. The benefits of the right environment for employees is an increase in productivity, improved satisfaction and happiness at work, as well as overall health.

Our next speaker Gareth Mullen, Head of Safety, Health Wellbeing & Security at Thames Water, demonstrated how Thames Water were able to improve the health and wellbeing of its employees. He drew attention to the need to actively promote the right outcomes and the need to gain the right feedback.

Our final speaker Martin Coyd OBE, Operations Director – Health, Safety & Wellbeing at Mace, explained how it’s possible to secure a safer and brighter future within and beyond the construction industry. This can be achieved simply by creating the best places to work and posing the question “What can we do to improve wellbeing and mental health?”

Finally, our speakers joined Graham Sant, Managing Director of Capita Infrastructure to form a Q&A panel to discuss and debate the main issues being presented. It was an insightful discussion with many thought-provoking points being offered. Some of the questions raised included an examination of what is next on the wellbeing agenda, how the industry can prepare for the importance of creating the right work environment, and the positive impact of introducing mental health first aiders in the workplace.

Our Health and Safety lecture was a great success and opened the doors for discussions on a topic previously enshrouded in stigma. It helped to show a clear pathway towards progress and the measures that can be taken to benefit our employees and company alike. I look forward to the future and putting these important measures into practice.

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