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New partnership to help SMEs in Wales tackle health issues

A new working group has been established to tackle two of the biggest health issues facing Wales’ workers: wellbeing and mental health and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Image credit: HSE

Outlining its future agenda at last week’s Wales Health at Work Summit 2019, the newly-formed Wales Health at Work Partnership (WHWP) set itself several objectives to support Welsh business – including small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and on the “SME intermediaries” that support or link to SMEs – to help meet their health needs by:

 

  • promoting new and existing initiatives in Wales to improve health at work and mental wellbeing;
  • sharing approaches, tools, and workplace experience for managing the risk, and reducing the incidence, of the major causes of occupational ill health in Wales;
  • gathering and acting on information regarding additional health support needed by Wales’ working population; and
  • developing a co-ordinated and sustainable approach to underpin the work of the WHWP.

The summit was hosted by a coalition of organisations committed to improving workplace health and wellbeing in Wales and was jointly funded by the Welsh Government – through Healthy Working Wales – and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Marking the launch, Public Health Wales’ Jyoti Atri said: “[This] event marks an important landmark. It brings together practitioners from across the public health and workplace health boundary. Working together we will bring improved outcomes for health and wellbeing through work.”

HSE's deputy director of the Health and Work Programme, Peter Brown warned against thinking the problem could be solved in one day, acknowledging that health is a complex area which makes working in partnership “all the more important”.

Though the summit is an important step forward, it’s the beginning of a process, not the end, added Councillor Dafydd Meurig (Gwynedd), WLGA spokesperson for regulatory services. “Ill health in Welsh workplaces continues to take a heavy toll,” he said. “Our end goal must be to see lasting improvements, so we urge all those with a shared interest to join us in this mission.”

 

 

Kellie is a freelance writer and former online editor of the Health and Safety at Work website.

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