Blood Pressure Week 12th – 17th September 2016

One in three people in the UK are living with high blood pressure, although at least 5 million people are not diagnosed.

High blood pressure shows no symptoms but if it is undiscovered, could lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Blood Pressure Week aims to encourage people (especially those over 40) to get their blood pressure checked, potentially saving thousands of lives each year. This week, volunteers are offering free blood pressure checks at hundreds of “pressure stations” in hospitals and pharmacies around the UK.

Alternatively, you can visit your GP to get checked.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your blood vessels (arteries).

Lifestyle Treatments to Lower High Blood Pressure:

  • Eat less much salt
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Get more active
  • Keep to a healthy weight
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Reduce Stress

Who should get checked?

  • Older people
  • People who have a previous high reading
  • People with diabetes

Blood Pressure Chart for Adults:

Find your top number (the highest pressure when your heart beats and pushes the blood round your body) on the left side of the blood pressure chart and read across, and your bottom number (the lowest pressure when your heart relaxes between beats) on the bottom of the blood pressure chart. Where the two meet is your blood pressure.

Health Matters (Occupational Health Ltd) can offer your company a Health Screening event to include blood pressure assessments and awareness to mark this key week.

For more information or bookings contact our team on (028) 30440509, email or visit out website



What is Occupational Health?


Regardless of sector or industry, an organisations staff are their greatest commodity and are essential to ensuring a productive and profitable business.
Occupational Health in simple terms involves keeping people healthy and well at work both physically and mentally.

Health Matters Occupational Health services allow businesses to keep their employees safe and healthy whilst they carry out their day to day duties, as well as managing any risks in the workplace that could increase work related ill health.

Specific services we offer include HR / Health & Safety Management Referrals, Sickness Absence, Health Surveillance and Health Promotion initiatives for a wide range of workplaces throughout the UK and Ireland.

Our clients include both public and private sector organisations and their size ranges from large multinationals to small sole traders.

For a professional, efficient and cost effective Occupational Health service contact Health Matters now.


Occupational health (OH) is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the relationship and interaction between health and work; namely how an individual’s health affects their ability to work and how the work affects their health.

This is very relevant to the work done by Logistics companies where fitness to drive and the ability to perform heavy lifting is important but also the stereotype of the unfit and overweight long distance driver is very powerful.As in most organisations stress and musculoskeletal issues are common cause of absence in logistics companies with around 3% of working days lost per year.Stress in haulage, distribution and warehousing is often seen as part of job with delivery pressures, traffic queues and potential violence from members of the public all being issues that the sector has to manage. Working alone for long periods may also cause issues of isolation from family and colleagues.Musculoskeletal problems occur in the warehouses among stock pickers but also in drivers who may have to load and unload vehicles. Not just the common issue of back pain in those who lift loads but also shoulder problems from the use of curtain sides on vehicles all require assessment, management, staff training and potential treatment of any issues that arise.In warehouses dusty conditions can cause potential problems with breathing and freezer work may have an adverse impact on those with some pre-existing medical problems.

Staff behaviours can also cause potential safety risks and drug and alcohol use has serious side effects in this industry not just in vehicle drivers but also in those who work in warehouses where mistakes in shelf loading can be potentially fatal. It is important that companies have clearly stated drug and alcohol policies and robust testing procedures for drug and alcohol testing when required. Specialist advice is needed if developing a drug and alcohol policy especially if it includes testing.

Tiredness and poor sleep are potential problems in staff who drive for a living. This needs to be considered when rostering shifts and medical issues that may impact on this such as sleep apnoea should be screened for and those who have it should be investigated and correctly treated.

Long periods of time in vehicle cabs and shifts are all known to impact on the amount of physical exercise staff take part in. Lack of exercise allied to the ease of availability of high calorie fast food while travelling this means that the stereotype of the unfit overweight trucker is well recognised. Being overweight is a significant risk factor in the development of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease all of which carry a risk of losing the Type 2 licence needed to drive heavy goods vehicles as well as causing risk of serious health problems. This means that the logistics sector is one where the benefits of health education and health and wellbeing interventions have a potentially significant business benefit.

The level and type of OH service required will vary according the size and risks of your organisation. The HSE produces useful guidance to help you work out what you need.

You can contact COHPA to help you contact OH providers to talk over your requirements and SEQOHS accreditation provides reassurance that your provider of choice is working to audited standards of practice.


Absence Management 2014. Annual Survey Report. CIPD 2014

Dr Lucy Wright CMO OHAssist on behalf of COHPA


When organisations think of occupational health issues the office is often the last place they will look. Compared to construction sites, factories or even driving the risks seem slight. However where ever people work there are health issues to consider.

In any organisation stress and musculoskeletal issues are the common causes of absence and offices are no different. Often office work can cause stress that may not be as easy to see as in other environments. In the target driven organisations of today offices, staff have just as much pressure on their performance as those in more traditionally target driven areas such as a manufacturing line. Office workers often have long hours at work (and in many parts of the country long commuting times as well). Working in customer facing roles can also be challenging and just because the worker isn’t seeing a customer face to face doesn’t mean that issues such as aggression and threatening behaviour from members of the public aren’t also part of an office worker’s day. The HSE website has a lot of guidance on stress at work and it is just as relevant for office issues as for any other work areas.Office work should not cause significant musculoskeletal issues as long as people don’t stay in one position for long periods and work stations are set up to be compliant with the Display Screen Equipment Regulations. It is sensible for all office workers to change posture regularly; this may be as simple as planning their work so they have to move to the printer or filing cabinet regularly, but even standing up and sitting down again can help.

Manual handling is an often overlooked part of office life with heavy papers and boxes being moved around. This should be addressed in the same way as any other manual handling task and subject to a risk assessment.

Because office work is not physically arduous this work can be attractive to those who already have disabilities and so an awareness of where to get help for staff with disability is useful. The Disability Employment Adviser at the local Job Centre can help and so can many charities.

Physical fitness is often a significant issue for office workers as they spend most of their working day sitting down. If once they are finished work they don’t do some form of regular exercise they can be at risk of chronic conditions such as obesity, heart problems and diabetes. Regular exercise also helps in reducing stress and also decreasing the chances of a recurrence of back pain in those who have had previous problems.

Issues such as noise, lighting, temperature and humidity can sometimes cause issues and if any are causing a significant problem, you may need to get specialist advice in these areas.

All this assumes that your office staff are working on your premises; of course it is more common now for staff to be home based for at least some of the time. This adds a potential issue of social isolation that needs to be considered with work set up in a manner to facilitate regular contact with colleagues and managers.

The HSE provides advice on office work including a simple tool to help you do an office risk assessment and several leaflets on common office issues such as those listed above.

Dr Lucy Wright Chief Medical Officer OH Assist on behalf of COHPA


Occupational health is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the relationship and interaction between health and work; namely how an individual’s health affects their ability to work and how the work affects their health.

Effects of health on work

  • Fitness for Task: assessing an individual’s fitness for the role they will be performing. This may be to standards that are set by the employer, an industry group or in legislation;
  • Absence management: assessing those who have been absent from work and giving advice to facilitate a return to work;
  • Rehabilitation: advising on those who have a medical condition that restricts them in the performance of their duties. This advice is targeted at helping return to full duties as quickly as possible or the identification of adjustments to the work that allows for the return to as much of the role as is possible.

Effects of work on health

  • Early identification of work processes or design issues that are known to cause ill health and working at an early stage to design these out of the work before it causes a health problem;
  • Monitoring of the working environment to ensure that workers are not exposed to hazards;
  • Health surveillance of workers working in potentially hazardous environments to allow early identification of possible health issues;
  • Advice on control measures to prevent exposures, e.g. elimination, modification/substitution, engineering controls, work adaptation, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and immunisations.

Traditionally this has been the full extent of Occupational health provision but more organisations are recognising the benefits of investing in staff treatment services to facilitate rapid return to work. Wellbeing provision is also now seen by many organisations as important and many are signing up to the Government Public Health Responsibility Deal pledges and using their occupational health service to deliver on these pledges. (

Wider health issues

  • Treatment services to allow rapid return to work, eg: physiotherapy and counselling services;
  • Health promotion and wellbeing services: raising awareness of the importance, and enabling the implementation, of healthy lifestyle choices;

What occupational health means for employers and employees

There are many potential benefits of workplace health programmes, as summarised below.

Benefits for employers

  • Lower health care and disability costs
  • Work timeliness
  • Enhanced employee productivity
  • Reduced employee absenteeism
  • Decreased rates of illness and injuries
  • Enhanced corporate image
  • Improved employee morale
  • Improved employee recruitment and retention
  • Increased organisational commitment and creation of a culture of health
  • Lower compensation claims
  • Decreased sick pay costs

Benefits for employees

  • Increased wellbeing, self-image, and self-esteem
  • Improved coping skills with stress or other factors affecting health
  • Improved health status
  • Lower costs for acute health issues
  • No salary / income loss from illness or disability
  • Increased access to health promotion resources and social support
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Safer and more supportive work environment

How do you determine the occupational health needs of your organisation?

The level and type of Occupational health service required will vary according the size and risks of the organisation. The HSE produces useful guidance to help you work out what you need.

You can contact COHPA to help you contact OH providers to talk over your requirements and SEQOHS accreditation provides reassurance that your provider of choice is working to audited standards of practice.

Dr Lucy Wright CMO OHAssist on behalf of COHPA

Ormeau Business Park, Belfast

New Premises

Health Matters have just recently (Start of November 2015) expanded from its Newry Headquarters to fantastic new purpose built Occupational Health Clinic within Ormeau Business Park, Belfast.

This further assists the organisations to service its Belfast client base with a full range of ‘open’ or ‘drop in’ clinics within the Belfast Area. A full range of services in currently being offered from the premises that includes annual Health Surveillance, Pre-Employment Medicals, Safety Critical Medicals and HR Management Referrals. Health Matters aim to bring a high quality, reasonably priced and convenient occupational service to all of its clients. For more information of services available check out our website

New services to be launched by Health Matters Occupational Health

[fusion_text]One of Health Matters ‘new services’ currently being rolled out to a wide range of clients involves assisting them to address ‘Health’ by introducing a yearlong health initiative. This is usually a time bound programme that can include various methods of addressing health, both from a legal and moral perspective.

Some of the ideas included within a typical ‘Health Initiative’ are as follows;

– Health Surveillance Programmes

– Creation of a health promotion areas within the workplace (Leaflets / flyers and general information for employees)

– Health promotion days (Screening)

– Periodic health promotion campaigns such as non smoking days

– Creation and delivery of Health related tool box talks

– Healthy eating programmes

– Designated healthy eating days (I.e. fresh fruit Fridays)

– Fitness / weight loss boot camps

– Organisation Health related newsletters

– Gym membership subsides

– Employee support services.

Please feel free to contact us should you wish to discuss any of the above. We are more than happy to provide a non obligation / no pressure quotation to any organisation.


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New Accreditation for Health Matters

[fusion_text]Health Matters were the first organisation in Northern Ireland to obtain membership of (COHPA) the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association. Reflecting on the companies membership Managing Director Mary Doran stated “Being the first company within Northern Ireland to obtain membership of COHPA is something that we are very proud of. I believe the principles of COHPA are very important, it provides a voice for us as members which can in turn help drive key advances. It provides members with that platform to unite and make a real difference within the area of Occupational Health”


Health Matters (Occupational Health) Ltd provide a full occupational health service for all work sectors throughout Ireland and the UK. For more information visit their website or email


For more information on COHPA visit[/fusion_text]

Health Matters are recruiting

Health Matters (Occupational Health) Ltd are recruiting for a full time permanent Business Development Manager / Sales Executive to manage the ongoing development and execution of a robust business development strategy aimed at increasing the company profile within target markets and ultimately generating new business.

The role will involve forming and maintaining client relationships with the aim of promoting the businesses core products which is the provision of a HR Management Referrals and the delivery of Health Surveillance programmes. To register your interest and request an application form please emailing quoting the above reference number. Completed application forms should be submitted by Friday 6th November 2015.