Health Risks at Work - do you know yours? Health Risks at Work


The Health Risks at Work initiative provides simple, concise information to help small businesses manage five key health at work risk areas:

  • Breathing
  • Skin
  • Muscles, bones and joints
  • Hearing and touch
  • Wellbeing

Latest News

John Cairns, Vice Chairman, SGUK at the Safety & Health Expo, NEC John Cairns, Chairman, SGUK

As part of the initiative focusing on 'risks to your skin', an update of the “It’s in your hands” project tackling skin related issues was launched at the Safety & Health Expo, NEC in May 2013.

The NEW “It’s In Your Hands” brochure is now available to download from the website:

Campaign Materials

Help for employers is available in the form of Rapid reference Cards (RRC) which address the five key health at work risk areas.
The cards highlight areas companies should be considering, such as hazardous substances, signs and symptons and where to get further help.

To promote the campaign a free ‘Introduction to Health Risks at Work’ DVD has been developed which is suitable for use by champions and trainers at training sessions, in company meetings and in many other similar settings in the community. This is available in five languages (English, Polish, Chinese, Urdu and Punjabi) to ensure that key health risks messages get across to as many workers as possible.

Download the Rapid Referene Cards:
Risks to your breathing

Risks to your skin

Risks to your muscles, bones and joints

Risks to your hearing and touch

Risks to your wellbeing

Download the DVD:

A download of the DVD and other campaign materials are available from the Scottish Healthly Working Lives Website.

If you would like a hard copy of the 'Introduction to Health Risks at Work' DVD please contact SGUK.

Working with local Safety Groups

Safety Groups UK is working with the network of local safety groups around the UK to reach out to SMEs and promote the initiative.

Safety Groups are being asked to appoint a champion who will take the lead on behalf of the group;

  • To promote the initiative among the group;
  • To raise awareness among the membership through presentations and information sharing at regular meetings and mail;
  • To identify SMEs among their membership and give them help to understand the contents and aims of the imitative;
  • To seek support among their members who are from large companies to promote the initiatives among their subcontractors;


Background to the initiative

Following a successful campaign in Scotland the ‘Health Risks at Work’ initiative was launched in May 2012 for England, Wales & N Ireland by Safety Groups UK to raise awareness of workplace occupational health issues and changing behavour among small firms.

The initiative began with a discussion by the Scottish Chamber of Safety (SCoS), the coordinating body for safety groups throughout Scotland, about what could be done to raise awareness of health issues among small firms. As a result, a working group was formed consisting of representatives from HSE, RoSPA, SCoS and the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives, and from this was born the Health Risks at Work – Do you know yours? (HRAW) initiative.

The Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives (SCHWL) has been running HRAW in Scotland since it’s launch in 2009 and Safety Groups UK, working with its partners, sponsors and supporters and with the agreement of SCHWL, has taken the initiative to SMEs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Health Risks at Work is based on strong evidence that SMEs struggle with health and safety because they:

  • find goal-based health and safety legislation and risk assessment difficult to apply;
  • believe – or are led to believe by unhelpful sources – that risk assessment is a complex and time-consuming process; and
  • sometimes therefore pay for expensive advice that is over the top or that they simply don’t need.

We also know that, in general, SMEs are not very aware of the occupational health risks faced by their employees (as opposed to safety risks), and that SMEs prefer advice tailored to their workplace rather than complex guidance documents.

The initiative aims to provide simple, consie information to help small businesses manage common health risks and provides tools to help them do this.

The benefits for employers are the improved health of their workforce, both in the medium and longterm, which is increasingly important with an ageing workforce, and the improved morale that comes from a workforce that feels valued and protected by its employer.