Blue collar worker

HSE Metal Fabrication Inspections January – March 2020

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Do you or your employees work in Metal Fabrication?

Is your Health Surveillance up to date?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be inspecting sites that carry out Metal Fabrication in January to March 2020.

The focus will be on control of exposure to welding fumes and metalworking fluids.

As an employer, by law, you should protect your employee’s health by controlling the risks from welding fumes. The process of welding produces smoke that contains harmful metal fumes.

For further information on welding fumes and metalworking fluids, please visit the HSE website for advice on how to protect your employees:

Metalworking fluids (MW) – Please click here

Welding fumes – Please click here

Acorn Occupational Health Ltd can assist with your health surveillance needs to ensure you are ready for a HSE inspection. We can complete a Site Needs Assessment to establish what health surveillance is legally required for your working environment and roles. Acorn also offer a variety of Health Surveillance including Spirometry (lung-function assessments) and Skin Surveillance. For more information and advice on how we can help, please contact a member of the Team on 01260 27797 or

Saving lives with PSA testing

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For males in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer with 46,700 new cases ever year – Cancer Research UK

A PSA test is a blood test that helps detect prostate cancer. It measures the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.

The PSA blood test is one of the main ways, along with a rectal exam, that doctors can look for signs of prostate cancer. And while it’s normal for men to have some PSA in their blood, a raised level can be a sign of prostate cancer. However, PSA can be raised for lots of other reasons too, meaning a man might get an abnormal result when he doesn’t have cancer. If PSA is undertaken this must be made clear to the employee so that unnecessary worry is not caused. There is an argument that some of the cancers detected – if left undetected – wouldn’t cause a person harm. The alternative argument is that early detection means less evasive cancer treatment such as hormone medication and surveillance.

Case Study – Urinalysis and PSA Health Screening

An employee was having their annual health surveillance screening and the urine test was positive for blood. The employee was referred for a review with his General Practitioner and he required further investigations, which diagnosed a bladder tumour, this was successfully treated.

Having the occupational health service enabled early detection of the tumour which otherwise did not show any other symptoms and allowed prompt and successful treatment for the employee.

Case Study – PSA Testing

One of our clients offers PSA blood tests to their male workers over the age of 45 years every other year. In the last 4 years, this test alone has detected Prostate cancer at an early stage in 4 of their employees.

This early detection has allowed for successful and less evasive cancer treatment and arguably has saved these employees lives.

Supporting employees health and wellbeing is a key focus area for Acorn Occupational Health and many of our clients. Although a PSA test is not mandatory, many companies now offer this to their male employees over 40 as part of a health promotion and wellness package.

Acorn offer blood profile screening which includes the following:

  • Full blood count – This checks white and red cell count. White cell count can be an indication of many different diseases including infection, viruses, leukemia and other blood disorders. The red cell count can indicate anaemia and other blood disorders.
  • Kidney profile – Urea & Creatinine checks the kidney function.
  • Liver profile – Liver function tests are important to check to see if the body is breaking down toxins. It will indicate the health of the liver and provide information to the person if their liver is fatty because the person is overweight or if they are drinking too much alcohol.
  • Lipid profile – This checks both good and bad cholesterol and will indicate if a person has high cholesterol which increases the risk of heart disease.
  • Glucose – This can indicate if a person is developing or at risk of diabetes.
  • PSA (males) – It measures the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood for early detection of prostate cancers.

For more information on our Health and Wellbeing packages that include blood profile screening please contact us on 01260 277797 or email

Working With Mental Health

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Mental health affects us all. How we think, how we feel and how we live our daily lives. The illness refers to a wide range of conditions that relate to how a person feels, perceives a situation and behaves. These range from mild levels to really quite severe depending on the strength of the illness, of which there are over 200 classified forms.

If you have poor mental health you may find that the ways you react to certain situations and feel about things becomes difficult, and in some cases impossible. The same as if you had a physical illness, a broken wrist would affect your daily tasks such as driving, lifting and even eating. The majority of people would see their Doctor and undertake appropriate treatment. However, mental health hasn’t always been looked upon in the same efficient way.

Looking after your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.

Getting to know the Facts and Figures

Mental health has become mainstream in the press and media over recent years, with more and more people opening up about their past and current difficulties with their mental health. However, few of us know how to differentiate between one disorder to another.

  • Depression – Around 3 million people in the UK are diagnosed with depression every year, making this the highest and most common form of mental illness not just in the UK but also worldwide. The mental health charity, Mind, have researched that more than half of these people will or have tried to commit suicide because of their illness.
  • Anxiety – In a lifetime, most people will have the feeling of anxiousness whilst coping with stressful events or changes, particularly if it has a big impact on your life. 25% of anxiety sufferers are between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. Spotting any early signs of anxiety is essential, especially for young people in order to support them and prevent further mental health illnesses.
  • Bipolar – Bipolar is a type of depression that is often characterised with mood swings from one extreme to the other. From feeling really high to crashing to a depressively low mood.
  • Stress – Most of us have, or certainly will experience some strain of stress in our lifetime. 85% of UK adults are experiencing stress regularly. Although stress is not a psychiatric diagnosis, it can cause and aggravate underlying mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. An individual may think that this is well controlled but added stressors can potentially pull these issues to the surface.

It has been noted that 1 in 5 people will call in sick due to workplace stress. Although it may not feel so at the time, starting a conversation about mental health doesn’t have to be difficult. More than 60% of employers said that they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but need specialist guidance of how to do so in the correct and most effective way.

Spot the Signs

Early intervention is key in the diagnosis of a mental health illness and supporting someone that may be struggling to come to terms with the illness. Many people suffer in silence when they have a mental health condition and reports show that just 21% of people with a mental health condition are actively in employment. By tracking absence, employers can identify when people are taking regular days off sick or more days than usual. This could be the first sign that there may be underlying mental health conditions.

Act now, before it’s too late

Statistics from ‘The Shaw Mind Foundation’ show that within the UK, mental health problems in the workplace cost the economy approximately £70 billion annually.

Training and resources focused around mental health are there to help enforce a workplace culture that encourages continuous development and self-improvement of staff, and in turn will help to maintain and control the mental health of your staff.

Acorn Occupational Health can provide the following services:

Well-Being Audit (Stress Audit)

This is a questionnaire based anonymous stress audit for businesses. It enables the employer to understand whether there are significant issues regarding employee well-being. It considers the most prevalent stressors in the organisation, whether they are real or perceived and an employee’s ability to cope. A report is then produced for the employer that offers advice regarding approaches that may reduce stress in the workplace.

BOUNCE Back Workshop

Acorn have recently launched a ‘BOUNCE Back Workshop’ which helps individuals with their mental health and resilience. This is a 1-day course where individuals will be given an understanding of stress, how to identify its potential sources, maintain focus in difficult situations and how to remain calm, in control and emotionally balanced. It also gives managers the correct advice in order to provide the appropriate support to employees and colleagues. All of the tools taught on the workshop enable an individual to ‘bounce back’ from setbacks that might occur at any stage.

Stress / Resilience Training

What does stress look like? What exactly is stress?  This training covers the effects of stress and how you as an individual or an employer can learn to help. It also covers personality types along with the factors affecting how someone reacts to pressure and how employers can help to support these situations.

Well Persons Medical

This is a comprehensive medical assessment where employees are reassured that they are in good health, or that early action could prevent ill health. Dependant on your requirements, the medical can include blood pressure, pulse, urinalysis, mental health review, vision, cholesterol and glucose checks, a musculoskeletal review, weight and advice about lifestyle, diet and fitness.

EAP (Employee Assistance Programme)

Acorn’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, online and on the telephone. Designed to answer your questions immediately or to refer you to the most appropriate advisor, counsellor or source of information. The service includes legal, financial, consumer and personal advice and it is all completely confidential.


Acorn can arrange counselling referrals with trained professionals who complete therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. We can also arrange appointments with Psychiatric specialists, depending on the individual’s requirements.

Whether it is yourself that is dealing with a mental illness or have an employee who is suffering, it is key to recognise that with the right guidance and help, a mental health illness is one that can be treated.

Don’t ignore your concerns, start your recovery now.  For more information on the services that Acorn provide, please contact the team on 01260 277797 or email

Depression and Anxiety in the Workplace: How rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) can Treat Mental Health Illnesses and Save You Money on Sick Days

By News

This is a new treatment that Acorn have come across for treating Anxiety and depression. Please see below article from Dr. Nikhila Deshpande.

Sick days are costing UK employers £8,000,000,000 a year. A staggering 12.7% of these sick days are taken due to mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety in the workplace cannot be discriminated against. Some employees must have long stints off work due to their afflictions, resulting in companies paying sick leave as well as a the wages of a temporary replacement, needless to say that this can become highly costly. Antidepressants are only effective for a third of the individuals who are prescribed them. Furthermore, it can take a great length of time to find the right type of antidepressants and adapt to their side effects. Psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are beneficial; however, they can take a few months to make a positive impact on an individual. What then is the solution?

There is however an alternative; rTMS is a painless, medication free and fast-working treatment for depression and anxiety. Along with this treatments efficacy, it can also act as a financial ally to companies who not only want to ensure the soundness of their employees mental well-being but save money in the process too.

Repetitive Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulations is a swift, pain-free, medication-free and effective treatment for anxiety and depression. Our patients dont require months to get better; we see results within a matter of days. This treatment for depression and anxiety has been approved by NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), The RCPsych (The Royal College of Psychiatry).

Our Service

Tranquil TMS is the first center in the North West to provide rTMS treatment. We are delighted with the work we have been able to do over the last year and strive to continue to do so with our growing clientele. It is in fact not only our mission, but our passion to deliver our fantastic and effective treatment to as many of those suffering as we can. Our treatment does come at a price, but it is insignificant in comparison to the difficulties caused by mental health conditions and indeed the financial burdens which come with sick leave.

Our patient Mr. Smith had long history of depression. Mr. Smiths previous 6-month absence had cost his employer £35,000, as a result of paying sick leave and another to fill his role in the meantime. The treatment we provided him with cost £6,000. By the time we discharged him he had taken 1 month off work, for which his pay was £3,333. His expenses therefore for that period were £9,333. It is highly likely that Mr. Smith would have taken further time off work if not for his rTMS treatment. Another 6 months would have cost the company a further £35,000. However, with rTMS, the costs werent much more than a quarter of that cost; rTMS saved that company £25,667. Mr. Smith has been in work for a year since his treatment, without a relapse, side-effects of rTMS or need to take antidepressants which can cause lethargy.

If you would like to find out more about rTMS treatment and how it has helped our clients, then get in touch today. We also offer packages to companies to conduct comprehensive mental health assessments. These are often very well received by staff and can aid in discovering a mental health disorder before it has fully manifested itself in an individual.

Dr. Nikhila Deshpande

Founder& Director & Consultant Psychiatrist

Tranquil TMS

0800 193 0914

Acorn Occupational Health Ltd ‘Your Health is Our Business’ Occupational Health Services for Care Homes

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Acorn Occupational Health Ltd is a leading provider of Occupational Health services in the UK. Acorn’s experience lies in providing tailored Occupational Health solutions for our customers including Health Surveillance, Ergonomic Assessments and Sickness Absence/Management Referrals. SEQOHS accredited since 2012 Acorn provides Safe, Effective, Quality, Occupational Health Services. The services can be delivered onsite, in the mobile health surveillance unit or from Acorn’s clinic. Their dedicated team of experienced Occupational Health Nurses, Technicians and Physicians, deliver a flexible, proactive service assisting businesses to effectively manage issues in relation to the health and well-being of their employees, in conjunction with supporting the business’s legal responsibilities.

What is Occupational Health?

Good health is good business. Occupational Health is not only how work affects a person’s health, but also how someone’s health can affect their work, physically or mentally.

Investing in the health and wellbeing of employees is crucial to maintain competitive advantage. In the care industry high levels of absenteeism and the costs associated with retention rates in relation to staff turnover can add to other staff becoming stressed due to a heavy workload resulting in agency bills spiralling. The effect of wellbeing initiatives have shown that interventions do work and providing an Occupational Health service has a positive impact on a company as a whole and their workplace culture.

Our services that may be relevant to you – ‘Your Health is Our Business’

  • Post Job Offer Questionnaires
  • Fit for Task – Night Worker, Drivers Medicals
  • Sickness Absence/Management Referrals
  • Well Person Medicals
  • Vaccinations
  • Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Work Station Assessments
  • Site needs assessments
  • Health & Safety Consultancy
  • Resilience Training
  • Employee Assistance Programme

Based in the North West of England, Acorn have identified the importance of handpicking a dedicated team of experienced Occupational Health personnel nationwide to assist businesses every step of the way. From the first steps of identifying any problems at work and managing direct issues affecting staff through to complying with legal responsibilities.

The real cost of ill-health for your business

Whatever the reason ill health comes at a cost not only to organisations through absenteeism and downtime but more worryingly through lost productivity as it has been found that employees continue to work whilst unwell (presenteeism).  As businesses cannot function without their biggest asset, their people, there is a clear case for senior managers to adopt well-being initiatives as part of the over arching business strategy.  The initiatives do not have to be costly and with the right support from line managers, occupational health professionals and colleagues work can be a happy, positive place to be.

According to the latest Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) survey published in April 2019, the average level of employee absence is 5.9 days per year. Stress-related absence has increased over the last year in nearly two-fifths of organisations and the most common methods companies are using to address this include improved work-life balance and employee assistance programmes.

Nearly three-fifths of organisations have seen an increase in the number of reported common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, among employees in the last 12 months. Sickness absence management has a significant impact on the damaging effects of the profitability and success of a business.

Once an employee has been off sick for more than six weeks, the problem is often compounded and the chances of returning to work at all are significantly reduced.

Early intervention and proactive management are vital to get employees back to good health and safely back to work.

Acorn’s sickness absence services include:

  • Reviewing and the writing of a sickness absence policy

  • Management referrals

  • Early intervention – limiting the possibility of any absence becoming long-term

  • Telephone consultations

  • Medical assessments

  • Clear management reports

  • Rehabilitation programmes to support return to work

  • Ongoing Occupational Health advice and support

Returning to work is an incredibly important part of the recovery process for any individual that may be experiencing health problems. Having the support from professionals in Occupational Health is a sound and reassuring way to confidently get back into a routine at work.

As well as referral appointments, Acorn Occupational Health Ltd offer a variety of Occupational Health services. Please visit our website for more information. Please contact a member of Acorn team to discuss how we can assist your employee return to work on 01260 277797 or email at

Learning Points:

  • According to the latest Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) survey published in April 2019, the average level of employee absence is 5.9 days per year.

  • Sickness absence management has a significant impact on the damaging effects on the profitability and success of a business, particularly in healthcare.

  • Occupational Health services are essential to help individuals experiencing health problems get return to work.

  • Mental health and work-related stress are on the increase and this is unlikely to reduce any time soon as workloads increase due to financial pressures businesses are facing

  • Companies striving to become an employer of choice through the introduction of well-being initiatives shows to the outside world that the organisation cares about its people and has values which may give them competitive advantage.  Employee engagement and staff retention have also been shown to have improved where organisations have well-being initiatives

Myers & Co Solicitors for Acorn OH

Thanks to Myers & Co Solicitors

By News

An Overview of the legal aspects of managing sickness absence…

Thank You…

Big thank you to Sarah Everton from Myers & Co Solicitors for hosting an overview of the legal aspects of managing sickness absence and for inviting Acorn Occupational Health to be their guest speakers, Arlene Moss, one of Acorn’s senior nurse’s spoke about the benefits of Occupational Health and the management of the sickness absence.  Thank you also to Westport Lake visitor centre what a lovely location to host an event.

Lego Nurse image

News chamber award

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2013 Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Award for Acorn Occupational Health

After winning the Customer Care Awards in 2009 and 2011 at the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Business Awards, Acorn Occupational Health Ltd recently picked up their third award for Business of the Year 2013 in the under £2M category.

From Left to Right: Andrew Burrows, Adam Clarke (Director of Mitten Clarke), Isabel Burrows, Hayley Rhodes and Denise Short.

This award is recognition of Acorn’s sound business practices and expanding customer base to which we are very grateful for their loyal support.


Charity Cycle 2013

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Charity Cycle 2013

Between June 6th and June 8th Isabel and Andrew cycled from Prestwick to the Isle of Skye to raise £949 for the Ruby’s Fund. The challenge was made a little easier by the near tropical weather and outstanding scenery.

The mileage does not really tell the whole story as it was dwarfed by the 750 miles of training prior to the event, during Bank Holidays, in the driving rain.

Day 1 – Prestwick to Inveraray (81 miles)
Day 2 – Inveraray to Resipole (73 miles)
Day 3 – Resipole to Portree (87 miles)


News Charity Event

By News

Charity Event 2012

As part of the Chamber of Commerce initiative and in conjunction with BAE SYSTEMS, Isabel and Andy Burrows at Acorn Occupational Health Ltd have in the last year raised a much needed £1700 for the East Cheshire Hospice.

Said Fiona Reed, Major Relationships Manager at East Cheshire Hospice:  “When Andy rang to say he and Isabel were going to cycle such an ambitious route, I really wished them well and was so grateful they had decided to raise some funds for us.  The amount they have raised has exceeded our expectations and we are very grateful to both of them and also to BAE systems.”

The main fund raising event was a sponsored three day cycle ride from Glencoe to Ullapool, taking in the Corran ferry, Glenfinnan, Mallaig to Skye (ferry), Plockton, Bealach-Na-Ba, Applecross, Torridon and Gairloch, 268 miles including the highest road in Britain, Bealach-Na-Ba.

Andy Burrows said, “What could be better, doing something that you enjoy while raising money for a very worthy local cause”.