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Occupational Health

Occupational Health

Occupational Health is the promotion and maintenance of physical and mental wellbeing of all staff. Health problems directly related to a person’s job are defined as an occupational illness.

Some hazards, such as skin contact with chemicals causing short-term irritation and/or rashes are known as acute illnesses. For more information try our fully online Chemical Safety course. Chronic illnesses develop gradually and their effects may be irreversible, e.g. loss of hearing. Some may even appear years after the time of employment, e.g. asbestosis. For more information try our fully online Asbestos Awareness course.


Specific Health Hazards


General Health Hazards

As well as specific health hazards there are some general things that may affect all workplaces:


Smoking and passive smoking have been linked to lung cancer, irritation to the respiratory system and other harmful effects. The Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004 (No. 6 of 2004) placed a ban on smoking at all enclosed places of work from 29/03/04 to protect persons at work from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. This includes office blocks, aircraft, trains, company vehicles, health premises, schools, colleges, cinemas, theatres, licensed premises and clubs, if any of these places is your place of work. The smoking ban also applies to common areas within buildings. This means, for example, that corridors, lobby areas and reception areas of buildings such as apartment blocks and hotels are also covered. For more information, please consult Citizens Information service. In addition, try our fully online Workplace Safety course.



Alcohol increases the time it takes to react to situations, affects behaviour and reduces performance. For more information try our fully online Behavioral Safety course.



Substance abuse may cause health problems and can cause safety hazards in the workplace. Many drugs are particularly dangerous because they cause mood changes and alter people’s perceptions. Even prescribed drugs may have a detrimental effect. As with alcohol, the condition must be addressed. For more information try our fully online Behavioral Safety course.



Verbal abuse, threats, bullying or assault can cause stress and concern as well as physical injury. Staff should be encouraged to report all occurrences to their supervisors who should record and objectively investigate the details and if necessary report to the relevant authority. For more information try our fully online Bullying Awareness course.



A large percentage of sick leave is due to stress, either due to personal reasons or the physical or emotional pressure of the job. Stomach and skin conditions, heart disease and depression have been linked to stress. Factors influencing stress in the workplace include poor working conditions, overwork, job insecurity, peer pressure including harassment, unrealistic targets and poor management.

Employees should be encouraged to report stress and management should be trained to recognise the symptoms and causes of stress such as inability or reduced ability to cope with normal tasks and situations, increased sick leave and/or poor time-keeping. For more information try our fully online Workplace Stress Awareness course.


It is very important to have an effective occupational health management system in place. There are sound economic reasons for reducing work-related accidents and ill-health, as well as ethical and regulatory reasons. Businesses that manage safety and health successfully invariably have a positive safety culture. Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.


For online Health and Safety training solutions, please check our Online Health and Safety Training portal.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email

Create change in the workplace by investing in Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging (DIEB).


What is DIEB?


Firstly, let’s look at what DIEB is. Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging are important qualities that employers and HR must invest in at work to promote wellbeing and fairness among their employees.

Diversity is having a culture that values uniqueness: people of different backgrounds, cultures, genders, and races.

Inclusion means inviting diverse groups to take part in company life.

Workplace equity is the concept of providing fair opportunities for all of your employees based on their individual needs.

It’s belonging that makes each individual feel accepted for who they are.


Why is this important?


There are  many benefits derived from DIEBs in the workplace for the employer:





By working towards equity – for instance, asking different individuals from different groups to spearhead meetings – dissatisfaction could be curbed, ultimately bringing down employee attrition.



Most studies surrounding diversity in the workplace have found that for every 1% increase in gender diversity, company revenue increases by 3%.




Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging in the workplace


How to promote DIEB in the workplace


Plan for Improving Diversity in Hiring

Ireland is known for being a friendly, accepting nation of diverse backgrounds. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 57% of recruiters say their talent acquisition strategies are designed to attract diverse candidates. 


Diversity in hiring leads to the following positive outcomes:

Appeal to a wide range of applicants. A larger pool of applicants increases the likelihood of attracting  top talent  who are going to buy into the diverse company culture, stay around for longer, and be have high levels of productivity.


Decrease bias. Decreased bias in recruitment, as well as adhering to anti discrimination legislation, allows for the best candidate to be chosen on merit rather than any other grounds of possible recruitment bias. 


Reduce the likelihood of hiring the wrong person for the job. A candidate will not be chosen just because they are the right fit based on existing staff, but rather because they are the best candidate based on suitability factors, such as education, qualification, work ethos and having given a successful interview. 


We explore further ways to promote DIEBS in our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging online course. 




Employers Beware: COVID-19 and Remote Working Obligations

The Safety Health and Welfare at Work legislation boils down to the fact that Employers are obliged to provide a safe place to work.

There are significant sanctions for employers who breach the legislation including fines up to €3 million and imprisonment for up to 2 years for a serious breach. In 2019 in HSA v Walker the defendant was prosecuted for a breach of s11(1)(c)(ii) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and sentenced to 6 months with only 2 month suspended.

In these COVID 19 times a workplace can mean working from home for many employees. Employers have a duty therefore to check that their employees have the appropriate facilities and equipment to work safely. The big difference now is that people working from home are doing so for their  full working day or at least a large part of their working hours. Appropriate desk, chair and work station ergonomics need to be considered. How do you keep in touch with your staff to check on their well-being? Is there inappropriate online activity? How is everyone’s mental health holding up? These are just a few of the considerations that you need to consider and find ways of dealing with issues that were previously dealt with in the office environment.


“Having a designated COVID-19 Compliance Officer within the workplace

is looking like becoming the new norm.”


Employer Obligations: Workplace Health and Safety

Having a designated COVID-19 Compliance Officer within the workplace is looking like becoming the new norm. This person or persons will be tasked with ensuring businesses meet any instructions or rules issued by the Government in order to allow them to continue trading. Online training, health and safety awareness and carrying out up to date risk assessments can be implemented easily and at low cost. A simple example is asking your employees to send a photo of their workstation. This can then be reviewed by an appropriate qualified person to assess its suitability. Creating appropriate checklists and procedures can help employers and employees assess what needs to be done in everyone’s best interests. provides a range of courses and our experts are on hand to give advice and courses to suit your business helping you create a better safer workplace in a changed pandemic world and helping you meet your legal requirements to provide a safe place of work.

5 Ways Mindfulness Practice Positively Changes Your Brain

In recent years mindfulness has become a buzzword in neuroscience, and mental health fields. Over thirty years of research has found that mindfulness practice, mindfulness meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction shares a symmetry  with mental, physical and emotional health. Some of the benefits of mindfulness practice include the following: 



There are essentially five ways in which mindfulness practice positively changes your brain. 


Frontal  Cortex


Mindful states achieve through meditation, meditation training, mindfulness based stress reduction training and mindfulness practice boost frontal brain activity. Over time this increased cortical strengthening bolsters our capacity for rational  thought and intentional planning which promotes great emotional awareness and control and executive functioning. 



Mindfulness practice and mindfulness training helps reduce grey matter and activity in the amygdala (a roughly almond-shaped mass of grey matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions). This helps reduce feelings of fear and anxiety and promotes physiological well-being and calmness. 


Social Neural Circuitry

There’s a strong correlation between relationship practice and mindfulness practice. Mindfulness has been found to play a vital role in establishing and maintaining emotionally nourishing relationships. 


Mindfulness practice also impacts the hippocampus positively, helping us to better remember and lead to greater cognitive functioning. 


Anterior Cingulate Cortex

Mindfulness practice increases one’s attention levels and  enhances emotional control. With the online world constantly vying for our attention this can have a great benefit to us. 



The insula controls the internal sense of the body, “gut” feelings and responses. This region is associated with how we perceive ourselves physically. The ability 


In his article,  Linder concludes that the ability of (mindfulness practice) to increase the thickness of your brain and protect against normal age-related brain thinning linked to dementia, in itself, is an especially compelling reason to practice (Linder, 2019)


Why not put this into practice yourself and experience the fantastic benefits of mindfulness practice at