In New Zealand, gout is the second most common form of arthritis and we have one of the highest prevalence’s of gout worldwide. It can cause severe joint pain, disrupt work and home life and cause difficulty playing sports and other normal activities. If left untreated, gout can damage bones and joints. Ironically it is the easiest form of arthritis to treat. Latest figures released show that the number of people living with gout is increasing but access to effective treatment is not.
Gout is caused by an excessive build-up of uric acid in the blood. It is three times more common in men than women. The acid crystallises and results in joint inflammation. To understand the best way to treat this chronic condition and prevent the painful acute gout attacks requires education and medication. Gout can have a huge impact on a person’s life and work. Because gout typically affects feet and hands the impact on work and exercise are often immediate. This can result in periods of time off work while symptoms settle.
Fortunately, gout can be effectively treated – medication, diet and exercise all play a part. Untreated gout can cause major joint damage that is permanent. If you have, or you know someone who has the symptoms of gout tell them to see their GP as early diagnosis and treatment is important .
For more information contact Arthritis, New Zealand – http://www.goutnz.org.nz/ or 0800 663 463...read less
Are your employees wearing and maintaining their respiratory protection correctly?
Managing airborne contaminants in the workplace is a primary focus for Worksafe NZ. As with all hazards the employer must manage this risk by elimination where possible. If the means to replace or eliminate the respiratory hazard is not available then improved ventilation and extraction in the workplace must also be used where practical to minimise the risk.
When this has been completed the residual risk must be further minimised to protect your employees health. This can be achieved by the issuing of personal protective respiratory protection.
While we have seen an increase in the issue of respiratory protection there is also evidence that when fitted respiratory protection is worn , it is not always the correct size , worn correctly or cared for appropriately . The training of how to care, wear and maintain this equipment can often be the missing link to an effective respiratory protection programme .
These are key points for the use and care of fitted respirators:
- One size does not fit all for both disposable and fitted respirators
- Individual fit testing by a suitably trained professional is essential prior to issue to ensure the effectiveness of the respiratory protection (If you know your prospective employee is going to need fitted respiratory protection , this can be completed as part of the pre-employment process). Where disposable respiratory protection is required to be worn for a task, this should also be fit tested
- Employees must be clean shaven to ensure an adequate seal. Ensure this is covered in your employee’s induction and / or contract
- Once the correct mask and size of mask is identified the employee must be trained in how to perform a pre-work self-checks to ensure the mask is correctly worn each time it is used, is well maintained and that filters are working. Posters showing the correct self-check procedure can be posted in appropriate areas in the workplace
- The employee must be trained to identify times when the cartridges/ filters may need to be changed or when the respiratory mask is not working as it should
- The respiratory mask should be cleaned after use and stored in an airtight container (ensure respiratory wipes are issued with the mask or readily available in the workplace)
- The employees respiratory health should be monitored on an annual basis. Ensure your employee takes their respiratory protection with them to this visit so that the Occupational Health Nurse can check that the employee fully understands how to wear, use and care for their respiratory protection.
For more information please contact OH Well on firstname.lastname@example.org or WorkSafe NZ clean air programme refer to: http://www.worksafe.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/work-related-health/clean-air-programme...read less
It is that time of year again where the leaves start to turn beautiful colours and our thoughts turn to flu vaccinations. Influenza (or flu, for short) is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory illness that can have symptoms ranging from very mild to hospitalization and death. The flu is not a cold and can have member of your workforce off sick for a number of days!
As many as 1 in 4 New Zealanders are infected with the flu each year. Many won’t feel sick but are still able to pass it on to others. This includes the most vulnerable in our communities such as the elderly, very young and pregnant ladies. These groups have a less efficient immune system so are more likely to have more serious symptoms from infection. But, the flu is a serious illness and can put even the fit and healthy in hospital or cause death.
In some recent research (SHIVERS 2015) it was found that approximately 26% of New Zealanders had contracted influenza and of those 80% had no symptoms!
Vaccination is highly recommended for pregnant ladies (at any stage of her pregnancy and can also be given to breast feeding mothers), the elderly (those over 65 years of age), children aged between 6 months and 5 years, those with chronic medical conditions and health care workers. As such a large proportion of people don’t have symptoms following infection, it is recommended that anyone who has contact with any of these groups be vaccinated.
In conclusion, by having the flu vaccination this year, you are not only protection yourself against the major strains of flu, having time off sick and feeling unwell, you are also protecting your whanau and wider community! This year, be a team player and Jab Your Crew!
OH Well is again offering flu vaccinations. You can book your workplace vaccinations by calling the office on 03 377 2661 or at email@example.com...read less
Why should you offer flu vaccinations?
Flu season is upon us again. Influenza, commonly called the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses that can lead to mild to severe symptoms, hospitalisation or even death. Influenza is different from a cold virus and will put people out of action for several days or more.
Being fit and healthy will not protect you from influenza. Influenza spreads easily and by immunising against influenza you can protect yourself and reduce the risk of spreading the flu amongst your family and workplace. Supporting your employees with flu vaccinations is a good way of protecting your business and reducing sick leave costs.
The influenza vaccine for the New Zealand 2016 influenza season contains the following three virus strains:
- A (H1N1): an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like virus
- A (H3N2): an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) like virus
- B/Brisbane/60/2008 like virus
Quadrivalent vaccines contain viruses listed above, plus the additional B virus:
- B/Phuket/3073/2013 like virus
For more information about the flu go to www.fightflu.co.nz...read less
Smokefree legislation applies to schools, early childhood centres, retailers, licensed premises, sports clubs and all employers.
It aims to protect all workers and the public from second hand smoke and reduce the harm caused to individuals by their smoking. The effects of smoking and working in an environment which has respiratory hazards has a compounding effect on individual’s health.
Smokers tend to miss two or three more days of work each year in comparison to those who do not smoke.
As an employer creating a smokefree workplace and a supportive quitting environment will not only help your business but you will be contributing to a healthier workforce.
For more information on how you can support your employees and enhance your business visit www.smokefreecanterbury.org.nz...read less