Workplace Health (A-Z)

Appointed Doctors

Under certain regulations, employers have a duty to ensure workers are placed under 'statutory medical surveillance' by an 'appointed doctor'. This website explains these duties and outlines the role of appointed doctors and appointment procedures. It will be of interest to employers that need to arrange statutory medical surveillance, and both established appointed doctors and doctors interested in becoming appointed.

Further details


Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year.

Further details


Asthma is a very serious health problem that can ruin lives.

Asthma can be caused in a workplace simply by breathing in certain dusts, gases, fumes and vapours that can damage your lungs.

Shortness of breath, wheezing and painful coughing are just some of the symptoms that occupational asthma sufferers may have to deal with every day.

Further details

Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Northern Ireland and the second biggest cancer killer. Every year around 1,100 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Northern Ireland and around 400 people die from the disease. However bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.

Bowel Cancer UK is the UK's leading bowel cancer charity and you can find a wealth of information about the condition on their website.

Bowel Cancer UK


Watch the charity's latest video to learn about bowel cancer.

Back Pain

Back pain is any ache, pain, tension, or disorder that affects the muscles or bones of the back from the base of the neck to the hips. It can be caused by damage to the muscles or the bones of the spine and ribs or to the discs between the vertebrae.

Low back pain is common and can be extremely painful. It can be difficult to cope with the severe pain but fortunately it is rarely due to serious disease. There are things that employers and workers can do to manage back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), in the workplace. People can be helped to remain in work or helped to make an earlier return to work.

Further details


This page provides links to the home pages for three sites that contain information relating to microbiological safety. They cover occupationally-acquired infections, the contained use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and work with specified animal pathogens.

Further details

Carbon monoxide

Appliances fuelled with gas, oil, kerosene, or wood may produce carbon monoxide (CO). If such appliances are not installed, maintained, and used properly, CO may accumulate to dangerous and even deadly levels in homes, cars or poorly ventilated areas.

Find out more on HSENIs website.

Cancer - Managing Employees with Cancer have released a handbook for employers on how to manage employees who have cancer.

This 40 page in-depth handbook (meant for managers) guides you through a series of steps including

  • When my employees get diagnosed with cancer
  • Absence during treatment
  • Return to work support
  • When a return is not possible
  • When you are employing a care giver
  • Good practice examples

Each section goes into detail on how to respond (from both the employer and employee perspective) and how to support the employee Each section also has a handy ‘manager’s checklist’ which assists you ensuring you are taking all the steps necessary at every stage of the process.

The good practice examples show how all of the actions can be put together.

Download a copy of the handbook.

Cancer (Occupational)

Cancer can be caused by substances, or mixtures of substances, called 'carcinogens’. Occupational cancer can be caused through prolonged exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.

Further details


This website aims to guide you to the information you need to help you identify and manage the risks from chemicals.

Further details

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.

CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. There's some debate over the correct term to use for the condition, but these pages will refer to it as CFS/ME.

CFS/ME can affect anyone, including children. It's more common in women, and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.

Further details

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

COPD is a major cause of disability and death, thousands of people die each year from work-related lung diseases and in many cases due to exposures that took place many years before. COPD describes a number of breathing problems where there is damage to the breathing tubes and air sacs within the lung.  Breathing in certain dusts, fumes, chemicals or gases in the workplace can cause serious long term lung damage.

Further details

Corporate Manslaughter

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

Further details

COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)

This website provides practical advice and Guidance on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. You can find information on what the law requires, advice on completing COSHH assessments.

Further details


Health and safety legislation should not prevent disabled people finding or staying in employment and should not be used as a false excuse to justify discriminating against disabled workers.

We want to enable disabled people and those with health conditions, including mental health conditions, to get into and stay in work.

This guidance will help those employing disabled people to understand their health and safety responsibilities.

Further details


Factors like race, gender, disability, age and work pattern may affect people's health and safety in the workplace - and sometimes health and safety is used as a false excuse to justify discriminating against certain groups of workers.

Further details

DSE (Display Screen Equipment)

As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. We describe these workers as ‘DSE users’. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time.

Further details

Drugs and Alcohol

Drug, alcohol and other substance misuse is everyone's concern. It damages health, causes absenteeism and reduced productivity.

Further details


This site provides information to help employers control exposure to dust in the workplace. You can also access further information on dust from this site.

Dust is tiny, dry particles in the air and can be produced when materials are cut, drilled, demolished, sanded, shovelled, etc. This means many work activities can create dust. Dust is not always an obvious health hazard as the particles which cause the most damage are often invisible to the naked eye and the health effects of exposure can take many years to develop.

Further details


This is a common neurological condition which affects approximately 1 in 200 people. Once their symptoms are under control, those affected can continue as normal in their daily lives and their workplace activities should not be affected.

View details on Epilepsy on HSENI's website.


The Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) is a statutory advisory body within HSENI.

Further information on the function of EMAS can be found on HSENIs website.

Exercise and fitness

As employers, it is important to remember that your most important assets are your employees. If you want your employees to enjoy their work environment, and bring the best of themselves to their jobs every day you need to encourage them to look at fitness as a lifestyle choice. In Northern Ireland 7 out of 10 people are not physically active enough to benefit their health.

Find out more on HSENIs website.


People are involved in all aspects of work, which is why HSE recognises the importance that human factors can play in helping avoid accidents and ill-health at work.

Further details

Expectant Mothers

This site provides useful information on what you must consider if you have any new or expectant mothers in your workplace.

It will help employers and employees understand what their responsibilities are and what they need to do to comply with the law.

Further details


As a GP you may have a number of responsibilities involving occupational health issues. This could be because a patient has a health issue caused or made worse by work, you are an appointed doctor and/or you provide occupational health advice for an organisation The information, provided by HSENI, at the link below will be of benefit to you.

GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

This site provides information on working with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in contained use facilities. Contained use means the work stays within a research laboratory or a biotechnology production facility and not released into the environment.

Further details

Health and social care sector

The health and social care sector employs in excess of 115,750 staff in Northern Ireland providing services at a range of sites as well as into people’s own homes. As well as those working directly with service users there is also an extensive range of other staff providing expertise and support in maintaining buildings and equipment, catering, transporting people and goods, cleaning, and various other activities that underpin the delivery of care.

Further details are on HSENIs website.

Hearing Health

The UK Hearing Conservation Association has teamed up with BOHS to run a series of noise induced hearing loss webinars.

These can be found on the UK Hearing Conservation Association website.



Health Surveillance

Health surveillance allows for early identification of ill health and helps identify any corrective action needed. Health surveillance may be required by law if your employees are exposed to noise or vibration, solvents, fumes, dusts, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health, or work in compressed air.

Further details

Human Factors

People are involved in all aspects of work, which is why HSE recognises the importance that human factors can play in helping avoid accidents and ill-health at work.

Further details

Infections at Work

This site covers ill health caused by exposure to micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses (commonly known as pathogens, bugs and germs) during work activities.

Further details


Working with lead and its compounds can pose a health risk if exposure is not controlled and good practices and good personal hygiene are not followed.

Further details available on HSENIs website.

LEV – Local exhaust ventilation

Each year workers in the United Kingdom contract lung disease or asthma because they have breathed in too much dust, fume or other airborne contaminants at work, including flour dust in bakeries, mist from paint spraying, fumes from welding or solvents from painting. 

A properly designed, maintained and operated local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system can remove airborne contaminants before people breathe them in and will protect workers' health.

Further details on HSENIs website.


Legionnaires' Disease

This website provides practical advice and guidance to control the risks from exposure to Legionella in man made water systems.

This information will help employers and those with responsibility for the control of premises, including landlords, understand what their duties are and how to comply with health and safety law.  It applies to premises controlled in connection with a trade, business or other undertaking where water is stored or used, and where there is a means of creating and transmitting breathable water droplets (aerosols), thus causing a reasonably foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella bacteria.

Further details

Lung Disease

High-risk work. Some work can cause life-threatening lung diseases. Find out how to protect your workers when they do these tasks:

Further details

Mental well-being at work

Work has an important role in promoting mental well-being. It is an important determinant of self-esteem and identity.  It can provide a sense of fulfillment and opportunities for social interaction.  For most people, work provides their main source of income.

Further information is available on HSENIs website.

Public Health Agency - a useful guide to mental and emotional wellbeing resources. This guide lists different organisations and initiatives that provide a range of information and support.

Download the guide.

Mental Health A - Z
Inspire Mental Health have a mental health A - Z on their website containing leaflets on different aspect of mental health.  The information for these leaflets has been kindly supplied by ©EMIS 2010. For further information regarding any of the topics above please visit the website.

Click here to access the Inspire Mental Health A - Z

Click Here to visit the Patient.Info site.

Menopause guidance

The menopause refers to the time when you stop having periods and can no longer get pregnant naturally. This occurs because your ovaries stop producing eggs and, as a result, levels of the hormones they produce (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) fall.

There has been a considerable amount of guidance developed about menopause and some links are below.




New guidance designed to help organisations support employees experiencing menopause or menstruation and better enable them to retain experienced and talented people of all ages has been published by BSI.

BSI, the UK National Standards Body, has published the menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace standard (BS 30416).

Find out more.

Mental Health Construction Industry Signposting Service

The Building Mental Health Alliance (BMHA) has announced an innovative signposting service for the mental health of workers in the construction sector.

The webpage, hosted by Northern Ireland Safety Group, can be accessed by here.

Manual Handling

What can be done to help prevent manual handling injuries?

Answer: In simple terms, the main thing is a risk assessment, though there are other considerations: Firstly, does the load need to be moved at all?
If so, can it be moved mechanically? For example by using a handling aid, such as a pallet truck, an electric or hand-powered hoist, or a conveyor?

Further details

Metalworking Fluids

Exposure to metalworking fluids can cause; irritation of the skin/dermatitis, occupational asthma, bronchitis, irritation of the upper respiratory tract, breathing difficulties or, rarely, a more serious lung disease called extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA).

Further details

Migrant Workers

If you are working here from overseas, then this website will help you understand how British health and safety law protects you at work.

If you employ migrant workers, it will help you make sure that you are looking after their health and safety properly.

Health and safety law provides protection for migrant workers whether they are working here legally or not.

Further details

Musculoskeletal Disorders

The term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) covers any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back.

Further details

New and expectant mothers

Information provided by HSENI will help employers and employees understand what their responsibilities are and what they need to do to comply with the law.

Further details.


Many employees in Great Britain are exposed to noise levels at work that may be harmful.

Further details

Older Workers

Today’s workforce is likely to contain a higher proportion of older workers because of factors such as increased life expectancy, removal of the default retirement age and raising of the State Pension Age, which means that many people will need, and want to continue working.

Further details

Psychological first aid

Psychological first aid is a humane, simple, yet powerful way of helping someone in distress during and after a crisis like the COVID 19 pandemic. It involves paying attention to the person’s reactions, active listening and if relevant, practical assistance to help address immediate problems and basic needs.

Learning psychological first aid skills and understanding reactions to crises empowers helpers to help others and apply the same skills to their own lives. These resources are to support anyone who is working or volunteering with local statutory, community or voluntary communities at this time. They are aimed at individuals with varying levels of skill and experience. For those who have extensive experience of working with people in emotional distress some elements of the training will already be familiar.

This eLearning programme, which has kindly been shared by in NHS Education for Scotland, and the interim guidelines specifically for Covid-19, which Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have kindly given us permission to use, will help individuals and teams to help people with whom they are in contact both during and after the COVID 19 pandemic by:

  • Addressing basic needs and concerns and providing practical support
  • Connecting them to information, services and social supports
  • Offering comfort and helping them to feel calm
  • Reducing distress and fostering adaptive coping
  • Protecting them from further harm

Access the eLearning programme.

Thanks to the Public Health Agency for making this programme avaiable.


Every day in the UK, radiation types are used in a diverse range of industrial, medical, research and communications applications. Although these applications bring real benefits to people living in the UK, some can create potential harmful exposure risks that must be effectively controlled.

Further details

RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment)

This website provides information and tools to help employers select and manage the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) in the workplace. There are many types of RPE designed to:

  • protect the wearer from a variety of hazards;
  • suit a variety of work situations;
  • match the specific requirements of the wearer

The information is applicable to disposable and reusable masks, breathing apparatus and powered respirators.

Further details

Smoking Cessation

We’re supporting Cancer Focus NI’s stop smoking support service.

Their service has now been adapted to offer support remotely by telephone or video.

It is free to organisations and their employees. 

Resources are below.

This QR code  allows individuals to self-refer into the Cancer Focus NI website for support. 







Use to play this 90 second video on info screens in your workplace or send the link to employees.


Or watch this 20 minute video outlining the reasons to stop smoking.


Cancer Focus NI are always willing to assist organisations to help promote smoking cessation as part of their employee wellbeing strategy.

Contact -

Bernie Neeson, Smoking Cessation Co-ordinator, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland -



Sickness Absence

This website outlines an approach to help employers and managers manage sickness absence and return to work.

Further details

Skin at Work

Work-related skin disease (e.g. dermatitis) can affect people in a wide range of occupations. Wherever you work, this site shows how the APC approach (avoid, protect, check) can reduce the chances of suffering painful and sometimes debilitating skin conditions.

Further details

Slips and Trips

This site provides information on slips and trips in the workplace. It offers employers,workers, architects and designers advice and guidance to comply with health and safety law.

Further details


Find out how to manage work-related stress so you can protect your employees. Over 11 million days are lost at work a year because of stress at work. Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it.

Further details


This site will help you manage how the temperature in your workplace affects your employees.

It explains the concept of thermal comfort, and contains specific advice on heat stress, dehydration and cold stress when working at very high or low temperatures.

Further details


Worried about risks from exposure to vibration?

Did you know, vibration can cause long-term painful damage to your hands and fingers - and that shocks and jolts from driving certain types of vehicles can cause severe back pain?

Further details

Violence (Workplace)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines work-related violence as:

Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work

This can include verbal abuse or threats as well as physical attacks. These pages explain what HSE is doing to address the issue of work-related violence and provide access to a range of information.

Further details

Vulnerable Workers

HSE defines vulnerable workers as those who are at risk of having their workplace entitlements denied, or who lack the capacity or means to secure them.

Health and safety should not be used as an excuse to justify discriminating against certain groups of workers.

Further details

Welding Fume Health Risks - Presentation

Kyle Carrick, Principal Inspector at HSENI recently gave a welding fume presentation to Buildhealth.

You can download the presentation below.

Download the presentation.


The following pages aim to provide simple guidance and advice on the health and safety risks that are associated with welding, ‘hot’ cutting and other associated operations.

Further details

Young People

When employing a young person under the age of 18, whether for work, work experience, or as an apprentice, employers have the same responsibilities for their health, safety and welfare as they do for other employees.

This guidance will help young people and those employing them understand their responsibilities.

Further details


Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Find out more on HSEs website.

The Workplace Health Leadership Group Northern Ireland Partners are:
  • Northern Ireland Safety Group
  • Build Health
  • BOHS
  • HSE NI
  • EHNI
  • HSC Public Health Agency
  • Congress
  • IOSH NI Branch