Express Medicals set to support Whyteleafe FC for the 2019/20 season ahead.

From Left: Dr Dan Hegarty, Clive Davis, Harry Hudson and Rory Evans

Express Medicals is delighted to announce that they will be continuing the valued sponsorship with Whyteleafe Football Club, a semi-professional football club based in Whyteleafe, Surrey.  

The renewed sponsorship agreement supports the Surrey based club’s 1st team, which finished 8th in last season’s Isthmian League South East Division.

The club, which was established in 1946, is an FA Chartered Standard club affiliated to the Surrey County Football Association. It has a thriving youth section, with 28 teams playing from U7s-U18s and at senior men’s and women’s level.

Dr Dan Hegarty, CEO of Express Medicals, said that “Express Medicals are delighted to support Whyteleafe FC, particularly as the club complements it’s success in the adult Bostic League with an active community programme, bringing opportunities to youngsters by aligning their education with receiving FA UEFA coaching.

We fully endorse the club’s approach to using the power of sport to motivate and inspire individuals to the community and are proud to be associated with the Whyteleafe club”.

Express Medicals is one of the UK’s leading independent occupational health companies with over 23 years’ experience providing medical testing, drug and alcohol testing and well-being services.  The sponsorship is part of Express Medical’s ongoing commitment to supporting the local community in keeping fit, healthy and well.

Clive Davis, Vice Chairman and General Manager of Whyteleafe FC, paid tribute to the ongoing support of Express Medicals.

We are thrilled that Express Medicals has decided to extend its partnership agreement with the club for a further season and we are proud to be involved with such a well-respected national company,” added Clive.

On behalf of everyone playing, watching, managing and coaching at Whyteleafe FC I would like to thank Express Medicals for their generous sponsorship. It is greatly appreciated.”

For more information, get in touch at marketing@expressmedicals.co.uk or call us on 0207 5006310.

Whyteleafe FC pitch

Giving you fun fitness tips for optimum well-being

Fitness for Wellbeing

At Express Medicals we know the importance of keeping fit to improve your overall well-being. In support of #WorkoutsAndWellbeing we’re giving you fitness tips for optimum well-being to make fitness fun and enjoyable.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of exercising

Do what works for you and most of all what you ENJOY. This could be going for a run outside, trying out a new class, playing sport, resistance weight training in the gym or quick and easy home workouts. Enjoyment and convenience are key factors, if the exercise you do is both enjoyable and convenient you are most likely to stick with it.

For example, a home workout is quick and easy. You can play your own music, be completely comfortable and get everything completed in an hour! Sometimes this consistency of training at home can see better results than the gym.  

Remember your body is totally unique

Don’t compare yourself to friends as their body may excel in certain movements and yours will excel in others. You may see others lifting more, squatting more but it’s important not to match them. Focus on what works for you, realise your body is different and concentrate on exercises to improve weaker areas.

Mind muscle connection

It’s incredibly important not to push yourself too hard.  For example, by lifting too much weight could be putting strain on other areas. Therefore, when doing an exercise on your first few repetitions ask yourself whether the muscle you intend to work is doing the majority of the work load. This could lead to you picking up a lighter weight. This will see your weaker muscle groups strengthen and prevent your more dominant muscles taking over.

Perseverance

You may feel silly doing certain movements for the first time, but like anything the more you do it the better you become. For example, running on the spot raising your knees high and punching the air admittedly makes you feel like a bit of a lemon. However, the more you persevere the more comfortable you feel and soon it will become second nature.

Stay motivated

When you are lacking motivation to workout think about the positive endorphin rush you will feel after your exercise. ‘When endorphins are released in the body of a person, he or she experiences a feeling of bliss, a flow of euphoria’ (Holloway, 2019). 

For more information about Express Medical’s range of occupational health services, visit expressmedicals.co.uk

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🧘 Managing stress for a well-being 🧘

Managing stress for a well-being

Connect with those you care about

Ever find yourself saying ‘I didn’t have time’? Perhaps more often than you’d like…
We communicate every day with texts, email or social media, but still crave more meaningful connections.

Our first tip is to understand the importance of keeping in touch with your family, spending time with your children and your loved ones. Relationships that you have with your family provides a huge influence on your health including alleviating stress, helping with mental health illness, giving you energy and providing a sense of contentment like no other.

If you surround yourself with support, you can weather the bad times with less stress and add years to your life.


Get outside at every opportunity you can

Our next tip is whenever you can, push yourself to get outside into the fresh air. If the sun is shining take the kids out and go to the park, organise a picnic, visit a National Trust site and go for a walk. We spend lots of time sitting down, so to counter the effects of enforced immobility it’s a great to move around and get outside.

“There’s no question that cognition, and concentration are improved by minimal levels of physical activity,” says Dr Andrew Pipe, chief of the division of prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Walking at a pace where you can have a conversation with someone for 10 or 15 minutes every day can substantially improve your overall level of health.”

Get creative 

It’s time to get creative! Simply engaging in creative behaviours (even trendy colouring in books) improves your brain function, mental health, and physical health.

Did you know that the average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day? Partaking in a creative act releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant which helps reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

Activities such as drawing, writing, knitting, gardening, DIY and dancing are all included so why not think about a new hobby?

Overwhelmed? Get it down on paper

Writing has been proven to provide calm and order to a highly productive brain. We call it ‘habit stacking’. Simply categorising your to do list can help break down larger tasks and make them manageable. Block out a time each day in your calendar, say 2-3pm and batch tasks together. For example, use this time to go through your emails, or make some phone calls.

Lastly, make sure you play to your strengths – if you are more productive in the mornings use this time wisely to crack on with your priorities.


Focus on you and your concentration

It’s easy to get caught up in your colleagues printing disasters, or to attend that meeting instead of doing that task you said you’d do last week.

Our tip would be to try where possible to alleviate distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. It’ll keep you focused and motivated to keep going. Try and find a fun way of telling colleagues you’re ‘out of office’ and we don’t mean literally! Simple post it stickers with ‘in’ or ‘out’ politely tells your team you’re in the zone, and not to disturb.

DIY SOS by Hayley Lancefield

I was given the opportunity to go to a DIY SOS site with one of our occupational health technicians. We provided quick health checks to everyone who was interested in volunteering.

I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t too sure if anyone wanted to know their blood pressure reading, or what their glucose or cholesterol levels were. However, while we were still setting up people showed immediate interest. One of the presenters, Julian Perryman, came up and said: “It’s good that you have come onsite today as someone felt faint yesterday”.

After setting up he was the first to get a quick health check. Following him, people of all ages lined up since they never had their blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels taken. There were also a few people who were on blood pressure tablets. It was important for them to get the reassurance that their medication was working. Otherwise they would have needed to wait more than three weeks for a GP appointments.

Many of our patients were curious about their results and what they could do to get better readings. We saw about 50 people in total and Nick Knowles, another presenter, came for a health check towards the end. He spent some time with us and discussed the importance of people understanding the meaning of their results.

That day, I experienced a great community atmosphere and it was nice to see everyone interested and engaged in a good cause.

 

The Construction Toolkit That Could Save Lives


Health and well-being is a topical subject and a current in the construction industry. Through this article I would like to explain how National Grid tackled the issue of stress, using a new process I helped design.

It is essential for business and construction to avoid assuming men know what to do about stress levels. Another risk may include thinking men don’t want help. It all starts by talking about it. We don’t have to have all the answers but let’s begin and learn from it. If we don’t know what Construction workers want, let’s ask them and listen to what they say. It’s likely it won’t be much different to what the rest of us want or need. But if we ask them, they’ll know we care, and that’s what matters.

How National Grid took initiative

Construction workers within National Grid learned about site safety by Health & Safety Reps. The Reps had never received training in stress and mental health. So, National Grid felt the subject of anxiety hadn’t been discussed. Managers also struggled to support staff if they took time off for stress. The issue felt like the ‘elephant in the room,’ and they began a campaign to correct this. I helped design a toolkit that recognised stress early. It equipped managers with tools to approach a vulnerable employee. It also covered how to support them. The benefit of this was greater confidence when discussing the subject. It improved how easy it felt to talk about personal issues. It also increased their understanding of what people needed and helped.

Some of us are lucky enough to learn the tools we need to help us cope well in life. Loneliness, when working away from home or balancing work with home life, can be tough. So can be handling marital breakdown or losing someone we love. If we haven’t managed to deal with these or have them taught to us by parents, then we can feel ill-equipped. Communication is crucial and talking about our emotions can bring stability in our routine. Not talking can have significant effects on our health. Some of the time we ‘learn’ what is acceptable, or unacceptable in our behaviour from the habits we are surrounded by. If it is ‘negative’ to express our emotions, then we are likely to stay closed off. Another issue is that men often find it more challenging to talk about feelings than women. 

The difference of emotional state between the genders

Women experience emotions on both sides of their brains. They have many connections within the brain to the part of it responsible for language. It is much easier for women to express what they are feeling. Men still experience emotions but find it tougher to explain. For men, it can be much harder to find the right words. So, some men may choose not to speak about things, and for some, it may feel more as if they can’t. Others may use different coping mechanisms such as withdrawing or avoiding things. Some may channel their distress by taking exercise or team sports and seem to avoid talking. Because men do this, it doesn’t mean they want to, and it doesn’t mean someone may not be able to help. They may be well received were they to offer. The key to helping men is to provide help but in a way that appeals to them. To do that well keep the process simple.

Helping is much easier to do when you know someone well, such as a good friend. The question ‘how are you?’ isn’t coming from management and doesn’t feel threatening. It’s also easier to ask for help from a friend rather than a professional. So, National Grid implemented a toolkit. Reps knew to look out for someone they knew may be struggling with stress. They didn’t try to resolve the problem; they offered a helping hand of a friend.

The 4 symbols that represent what this toolkit looks like

The Buddy Toolkit

I developed better expertise with this process over time and revised it. I called it a Buddy toolkit or ‘looking out for your mates.’ I extended it beyond Health and Safety Reps to the workers whenever I introduced this. It was important workers didn’t have to look out for everyone they knew but watched out for their best mate. It was also important not to feel they had to fix how someone was feeling or make them feel better. All you do is watch out for your mate and check in with them. When you’ve asked how they are if they are unhappy and you think you can help offer your thoughts. Talk about when you’ve experienced something similar. If you don’t think you can help, direct them towards someone, you know who can. Whether that someone is on-site or off-site does not play a role. Make it your business to know what services are available then you’ll know you tried and they’ll feel valued. Keep in touch and check in again a few days later.

With the Buddy toolkit, you also pair people up within your project team. If someone is new to the team, a more experienced site worker would be better paired with them for a few weeks. That is so they can show the new person the ropes but also look out for them. Often, we are at our most isolated when lonely, and we don’t know anyone. That is a risk for mental health. It’s also the time when men are most likely to find out what is and isn’t ok in that culture. If they are new in, need help but don’t ask, the buddy system gives them someone they can approach.

We all need support in life, and this toolkit helps. What this achieves is simple; you show you care and they feel that. If they are going to reach out, then they’ll come to you. So, look, watch and ask how they are, if you see they aren’t themselves at any time.

Article by Sue Firth, Business Psychologist for Express Medicals


Health surveillance and hazard control in the workplace

Health surveillance is a process of on-going monitoring of employees to detect whether they’re working in circumstances that could be harmful.
Companies need to put health surveillance into place when hazards such as noise, manual handling, biological agents and other factors influence the workplace. However, employers sometimes wrongly consider surveillance as a method for preventing harmful situations. Even though this is a convenient approach, it can not avoid employee exposure to dangerous situations. Complete prevention of these serious situations, is the most appropriate way of controlling risks.
Moreover, health surveillance is considered part of health risk management and requires a systematic approach for early detection of diseases. Besides that, it gives employees a positive feeling when they know that an effective health control programme is in place.

Hierarchy of hazard control

The system is used in this industry to minimize or even eliminate exposure to hazards. The infographic below is used by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

New training keeps offshore workers safe in transit

This month, our doctors have been reviewing and updating their skills, to ensure we can offer trusted training, following Oil and Gas UK’s new requirements for offshore medical workers.

New medical requirements mean offshore workers have to pass medicals ensuring they are fit to use Emergency Breathing Systems. This kit is designed to keep them safe should there be an accident on any helicopter.

We’ve been involved in certification for offshore workers for many years: correct assessments are vital when workers are close to unpredictable weather and potentially life-threatening conditions. The latest changes to process were recommended by the Civil Aviation Authority. This was introduced following a helicopter crash in 2013, which resulted in the death of four offshore workers.

Oil and Gas UK, the industry’s member organisation, has now changed the training for workers that go offshore, to ensure they’re fit for work. This is done by using a new compressed gas emergency breathing system. This new assessment is vital to ensure anyone using the system is aware of the risks and mitigations around barotrauma. Also known as decompression sickness, a range of injuries caused by changes in air or water pressure can occur.

Workers are now required to complete survival course in-water training exercises. With a compressed-air emergency breathing apparatus (EBS) it is ensured that they can correctly operate the equipment, in a controlled environment. That’s where Express Medicals comes in.

Before taking part in the course, trainees must have an assessment of their medical fitness to participate. A worker who needs to be certified for offshore work and has not already completed the survival training will now also need an assessment of their fitness.

Express Medicals makes this assessment at the same time as the standard Oil and Gas UK assessment and will issue a certificate ‘fit for training’.


Objective of medical assessment

The objective of the fitness for in-water EBS training is to:

  1. Ensure trainees have understood the nature of the hazard of barotrauma, that some medical conditions may increase the risk, and the importance of providing an accurate medical history.
  2. Classify trainees as either ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’ for in-water EBS training.
  3. Ensure all trainees have received explanation of risk mitigation and measures in general. As well as that trainees with medical conditions have received personalised risk mitigation advice relevant to their condition.
  4. Provide documentary confirmation of fitness status, for employers and training providers.


How we assess

The candidate completes a questionnaire. One of our medical staff will sit with them and clarify any positive answers.  At this stage, we discuss the hazard and risk of barotrauma, and ensure the candidate has had sufficient opportunity to provide an accurate medical history. For candidates without any relevant medical history, we can then certify fitness to participate in training without need for further tests or physical examination.

For candidates with a history of relevant medical condition(s), we will examine the respiratory and/or ENT systems, and/or performance of lung function tests. Unless we obtain a clear history of absolute contraindication to training (in which case the examining doctor may directly certify unfitness for training).

If the examining doctors suspect a clinical diagnosis relevant to EBS in-water training, despite lack of history, they will undertake clinical examination and/or lung function testing and/or other relevant tests considered appropriate.

Some conditions that might affect fitness to train are:

  • Lung conditions, for example –   Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, Pneumothorax, Sarcoidosis or a history of Bullae.
  • Ear Nose and Throat conditions, for example – difficulty in clearing their ears, tracheostomy, perforated tympanic membrane etc.


Why training has changed

Following a helicopter crash off Sumburgh in August of 2013 in which four passengers died (two from drowning, one from cardiac arrest, and one from an incapacitating head injury) the Civil Aviation Authority directed the UK oil and gas industry to introduce a more easily deployed emergency breathing system. The ‘PSTASS’ (Passenger Short-Term Air Supply System) compressed-air breathing apparatus was introduced to service for passengers on offshore helicopter flights in the UK sector of the North Sea in 2015.

Silica medicals extended across our clinic network

We’re delighted to announce that silica medicals are now available at every one of our 15 clinics across the UK.

The railway industry is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers for workers caused by dust in ballast, which contains silica particles.

It’s a threat to health that some have likened to the danger from asbestos – and employers have reacted responsibly, to avert a similar long-term health catastrophe.

How it effects workers?

Workers inhale silica dust when handling ballast as well as when they drill into concrete, bricks or tiles and also it is a real risk in many common construction situations. Last year, Volker Rail won a Railstaff Award for their initiative, “Positive Intervention to Control Exposure to Ballast Dust”.

Nowadays rail companies are working closely with occupational health providers, ensuring their testing includes specific silica tests to maintain a high level of commitment to staff safety.

Express Medicals Ltd tests for silicosis and related conditions at clinics throughout the UK, and is seeing an increase in customer requests.

“Testing for silicosis is an important feature of railway medicals. We work closely with a number of companies to ensure workers are silica free, or to find out if they should receive early intervention as well as treatment if we find they’ve been exposed to levels that might cause harm,” explains Dr Dan Hegarty, CEO of Express Medicals Ltd.

“We anticipate a significant rise in the number of these medicals throughout 2018 as awareness of the various diseases caused by dust-borne particles continues to be of concern. It’s vital to test early, to help prevent the onset of silicosis.”

Silicosis is a serious lung disease, which has an affect on any worker who breathes in silica dust. In most cases the condition develops over a long period of time. If a large amount of silica is inhaled over a short period of time, then it’s possible to suffer from a rapid onset acute form of silicosis. Sufferers usually present with a cough and increasing breathing difficulties upon exercise.


There is an increased incidence of some other medical problems in people diagnosed with silicosis including:

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) which also causes breathing difficulties
  • RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • TB (tuberculosis)
  • Lung cancer.

Thus, the role of correct PPE, including well-fitting face masks, is paramount.

A good occupational health provider will also help employers ensure they’re meeting their requirements under the COSHH Regulations 2002. This is done by contributing to briefing sessions to advise on occupational lung diseases, including silicosis. What is silicosis? How does it affect sufferers? What does it do to the lungs? How is breathing disturbed? Why is it associated with some other medical conditions? Is it very dangerous? How quickly does it develop? Is it likely to interfere with fitness and the ability to work? Is forced retirement inevitable?


At Express Medicals we have created a four point process to assist managers. You should consider:

1). How best to educate your workers about the risks from silica?

2). Who to include in your health surveillance programme?

3). Who to appoint as the responsible person to organise and oversee the programme?

4). The appointment of an OH provider.

The OH provider will act as a significant advisory partner to your health & safety staff and the management team. Its services will include questionnaires, medical examinations, chest X-rays (when appropriate) and liaison with GPs / other health professionals. A provider like Express Medicals will be skilled in handling situations in which silicosis (or any other occupational disease) is detected.

The role of an occupational health provider in relation to silicosis falls within the much wider remit of health & wellbeing and health surveillance. The benefits of providing health & wellbeing services are increasingly recognised by employers. When helping to protect the health of a workforce, such services positively affect morale, retention and performance in any company. A workforce that is cared for will be more motivated, more efficient as well as boost company performance.

A good occupational health provider will provide valuable up-to-date information for your health and safety staff as well as the management team. They are essential partners in developing effective health and wellbeing programmes, to ensure staff are motivated and efficient.

For further information about occupational health services, please contact us on our website or call us directly in the office. 

workhealth@expressmedicals.co.uk

020 7500 6900

Dr Dan Hegarty, CEO of Express Medicals Ltd, has more than 21 years’ experience of occupational health in the railway sector.

The Health and Safety Executive [HSE] provides helpful information on its website.

A very useful HSE guidance leaflet is ‘G404. Health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS)’.

The fun of walking

When we think of exercise we think of sports, the typical but structured process of a regular routine. Either where we join other people or work out in the gym on our own. This requires a lot of effort and often doesn’t suit us all.

Instead, think of a simple process: moving more often!

Many of us are far more sedentary than is good for us. If going to a gym or organised sport feels too much of a commitment, aim for something simpler!

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Healthy Heart – lower your risks of heart disease

 

When it comes to heart health, many people don’t realize the fact that they can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems very easily. This only includes making a few minor changes in their lives.

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in men and women, greater than the next five causes of death combined!

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Not Just Dust

The railway industry is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers caused by dust in ballast. This dust contains dangerous silica particles. It’s a threat to the health of your workers. Moreover, it has been linked to the danger of asbestos and therefore employers have reacted responsibly to avert a long-term health catastrophe.

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New January Weekend Opening

Express Medicals’ London clinic will be open on the 13 and 27 January (9am-1pm for medical assessments and drug and alcohol testing), making it even easier for you to fit in appointments round your work hours.

Furthermore, we’re trialing weekend openings next month in order to fit our customer’s busy schedules. Continue reading

Know Your Numbers

Express Medicals encourages exhibition visitors to take health MOT to “Know Their Numbers”

Our nursing and sales staff will be out in force at this year’s CIPD annual conference and exhibition in Manchester on November 8 and 9, 2017. We want people to “Know Your Numbers”.

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Roadside Breathalyser

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first roadside use of the Breathalyser.

Express Medicals’ scientific adviser, Dr Simon Davis BSC PhD explores the history of this ground-breaking technology that’s trusted by the courts.

 50 years of alcohol breathalysers – an occupational health revolution

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