Case Studies

Case Study 1

Client
Manufacturing and fabrication company using metallic and non-metallic materials, employing 90 people.

Issue
A routine workplace visit by our experienced Occupational Health nurses for health surveillance identified two employees with skin conditions of their hands. The employees did not work on the same job but were both exposed to oil. One used gloves, the other did not.  Powdered latex gloves had been withdrawn on the advice of Pegasus Occupational Health some years before.

Evaluation
The employees had been diagnosed with dermatitis by their GPs but they had not formally brought this to the company's attention and had continued working normally. Neither used their prescribed treatments properly. Both employees worked with mineral oil to differing degrees, one being a maintenance employee and one on manufacturing. However, the maintenance employee, being a thrifty fellow decided to wear gloves he found in the Stores Department. When questioned by Pegasus Occupational Health, he admitted to using the gloves which had been withdrawn and also using out of date barrier cream. The manufacturing employee said that he would not wear gloves because he perceived an entrapment risk with his machine. Apparently, the company had also perceived this risk due to historical evidence but had not sourced a suitable glove. He did not use the supplied barrier cream or after-work cream.

Solution
The company was advised to dispose of all Personal Protective Equipment which was no longer used and to monitor the expiry dates of all cleansers and creams provided. Advice was also given to enable the company to source a suitable glove for the manufacturing employee to use without risk. He was advised to wear barrier cream if this was unsuccessful. The maintenance employee was advised to either use barrier cream or the wear non-latex gloves with cotton liners. He was given his own supply of barrier and after work cream but was given alternative duties initially away from oil exposure while his skin healed. Both employees were referred back to their GP's for further assessment and treatment and were seen by Pegasus Occupational Health's consultant OH Physician who also gave advice to the employees and the company in her reports. Both employees will continue to be monitored frequently by Pegasus Occupational Health

Outcome
The company has accepted the recommendations put forward by Pegasus Occupational Health. The company has supplied reputable good quality hand care products for four years but usage has not been monitored. Usage will now be encouraged by the company and will continue to be encouraged by Pegasus Occupational Health, who will also carry out tool-box skin care talks in every department. The employees concerned are beginning to enjoy good skin health.

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Case Study 2

Client
Housing Association with 140 staff

Issue
Previous occupational health provision was external to the business. A high level of employee absence was cited by Human Resources. Client reported loss of overall confidence in the Occupational Health advice provided by their current provider due to a lack of engagement in understanding their job roles.

Our Evaluation
A workplace visit by one of our experienced occupational health nurses identified high levels of employee absence with a lack of engagement between employees and occupational health. The need for health surveillance was identified for their maintenance teams. Employees were provided with health fairs by their employer, but there was a general consensus that more employee health provision would increase employee engagement and morale.

Solution
The company was advised to invest in an in-house occupational health service for one day per month. We worked seamlessly with Human Resources to review the sickness absence policy and employees were initially encouraged to self refer to increase employee engagement. Following promotion of the sickness absence policy, employees were referred to occupational health for advice and support on ways to accommodate their health conditions or symptoms at work. The increased health service provision that the employee's wished to expand was addressed with the provision of a bespoke package which aims for employees to adopt healthy life choices.
Health surveillance was undertaken with the maintenance teams to monitor the effects of the workplace hazards on their health.

Outcome
The provision of a specialist in-house occupational health house meant that the business were able to identify further Occupational Health needs and for strategies to be placed to overcome them. The business has now recently received a “Gold Award” in recognition by the Welsh Government as part of their “Corporate Health Standard” initiative to improve employee wellbeing at work.

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Case Study 3

Client
Manufacturing Company making electrical components

Issue
A new manager had noticed that there was a higher percentage of sickness absence amongst a group of employees where components are assembled by hand. The increasing absence affected the performance of the Company and they had lost an important customer due to delays in production. 

Our Evaluation
A workplace visit by one of our experienced Occupational Health Nurses identified that in this particular section the employees were mostly female, worked full time and had a total of a 45 minute break during the working day. Many of the employees were complaining of pain in their necks, elbows and forearms (tenosynovitis) and a number complained of lower back pain. Their work involved frequent standing and repetition of work movements with high force demands from screwing in small bolts as part of the assembly process. In addition a number of the workers complained that the lack of flexibility in the workplace over their working hours often necessitated a period of sickness absence when one of their children was ill.

Solution
The Company were advised to invest in power-driven tools to reduce the repetitive movements and for staff to be provided with Sit-Stand Stools so that assembly workers could alternate their posture from sitting to standing without interrupting their job. Most importantly, staff were given advice on the benefits of exercise and on how to organize their work in such a way that natural workbreaks could be incorporated into the working day to avoid prolonged static posture (a major cause of musculoskeletal discomfort). In addition discussion with management, trade union and staff led to new arrangements to incorporate flexible working.

Outcome
The changes recommended were accepted by the company and on review two months later it was found that the incidence of work related musculoskeletal disorders had been eliminated. In addition the workforce was very happy with the new flexible working arrangements. The outcome of the changes was a significant reduction in absence costs and an increase in productivity so much so that  Company were in the process of employing a further three staff having secured a new contract.

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