Occupational Health

by Anna Harrington

A healthy working environment

The workplace environment needs to be a place which encourages productivity and promotes good health and wellbeing. Whilst it needs to allow for good productivity levels it needs to also be able to promote a community feel.

Research by the Commission for the Built Environment (CABE) found that 24 per cent of employee work satisfaction relates to comfort, air quality, temperature, noise, lighting and the office layout. CABE suggests the following six points when considering the creation of a healthy environment:

  • Ease of movement and accessibility
  • Character, quality and continuity – workplaces that positively interact with the surrounding areas
  • Diversity – having workplaces as part of a mixed-use development
  • Sustainability – minimising the consumption of energy
  • Adaptable – able to accommodate changes to requirements
  • Management – ease in the maintenance requirements.

The HSE tends to be focused more on the prevention of ill-health rather than the promotion of good health and productivity, through the promotion of suitable welfare facilities:

  • Washing and toilet facilities
  • Rest facilities
  • Changing facilities
  • Eating and drinking facilities.

The requirements are guided by the Workplace (health, safety and welfare) Regulations, 1992.

When making decisions about workplace environments, collaboration should be sought between all interested parties, such as

  • Employees
  • Human resources
  • Occupational health
  • Health & safety
  • IT
  • Facilities managers.

See also Workplace Wellness.