Examining the role of the occupational safety and health professional in supporting the control of the risks of multiple psychosocial stressors generated during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gold, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3162-0873, Sharman, Andrew and Thomas, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1209-7025 (2022) Examining the role of the occupational safety and health professional in supporting the control of the risks of multiple psychosocial stressors generated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 9 (1) , 69. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2662-9992 [Article] (doi:10.1057/s41599-022-01079-7)

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Abstract: COVID-19 created challenges at work with increased risks of multiple interrelated psychosocial stressors, surfacing as a comorbidity of COVID-19. The roles of many Occupational Safety and Health Practitioners (OSHPs) included helping to recognise, prevent and mitigate these risks, especially for essential and front-line workers. The rationale for this study was to investigate potential competency gaps amongst OSHPs on their lack of priority or inability to understand the scope of the negative synergistic effects of these stressors and provide support where and when appropriate. Drawing on the International Labour Office (ILO) SOLVE methodology, eight psychosocial stressors were identified and a seminar was developed to raise the awareness of the comorbidity of COVID-19 and psychosocial stressors with the target audience of OSHPs, who would potentially further disseminate this information to a broader workforce. The membership network of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) was used to implement the intervention through organising Zoom-based seminars globally. Participants were followed-up with during the seminar and through a one-year post-seminar survey to determine retention of the presented material and to what extent it was put to use. An information sheet was designed and made available to participants for further dissemination. The information sheet can be used by all industries at all levels as a tool to raise awareness and to signpost participants on where to seek help if needed. Twenty-five seminars were held with 2483 participants. Feedback revealed that participants grasped the presented concepts as many of the questions raised during and after the session focused on the implementation of the presented measures. We concluded that, given the correct knowledge, OHSPs are an invaluable resource to lead workforce engagement in this area. Due to UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), there were difficulties undertaking the follow-up survey. Those who could be contacted indicated that where they could influence an intervention, there were improvements in the workplace. It is recommended that participant data be controlled by the research team with qualitative data recorded. Further studies are needed to review both competencies and existing job descriptions of OSHPs and the challenges around expanding responsibilities to lead psychosocial interventions at work.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 34827
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2022
Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2022 10:38
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 17:38
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/34827

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