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Constructing Better Health

CBH and SEQOHS collaborate on OHSP accreditation in construction


The CBH team is pleased to share news about its new collaboration with SEQOHS (Safe Effective Quality Occupational Health Service).  On 30th September Constructing Better Health (CBH) and (SEQOHS) announced that together, they aim to improve and streamline the accreditation of occupational health services in the construction industry.

Currently, CBH operates an accreditation system for occupational health services in the construction industry and SEQOHS manages an industry wide occupational health accreditation system. The two organisations have now established a new approach, which will simplify accreditation for occupational health services in construction. Occupational health services working in construction will be invited to become accredited through SEQOHS; they will be required to meet the standard requirements, but as part of the process will produce construction-specific evidence requirements. Once SEQOHS accredited, occupational health services will then be able also to seek endorsement from CBH.

This means that services in the construction industry will have one consistent accreditation process to undertake, which covers the requirements of both schemes.

Chief Executive of CBH, Michelle Aldous said: ‘CBH’s mission is to improve standards of occupational health in the construction industry.  This is vital work: There are still over 5,000 deaths a year in the UK from disease associated with construction work. It is critically important that occupational health services ensure that risk to the health of construction workers is minimised and that their health is properly monitored.  We see this partnership with SEQOHS as a means of improving standards of services by encouraging more occupational health services to become accredited.’

SEQOHS Clinical Lead, Dr Sally Coomber said: ‘We have been delighted with the response of the occupational health community to SEQOHS since it was launched nearly three years ago.  Approximately 340 services have signed up and 147 are now accredited.  However, we are always trying to improve what we do and to reach out to more services. This initiative with CBH, which will mean SEQOHS can be relevant to the specific demands of occupational health in construction, has been achieved by working in partnership with CBH to share our expertise and experience.’

Occupational health services working in the construction industry are now able to seek SEQOHS accreditation against the construction specific requirements. Services that are not already registered with SEQOHS can sign up in the normal way. Further information is available on the SEQOHS website at


Is your team a healthy team?

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Throughout the recent recession many people lost their jobs as companies struggled to reduce costs. Whilst this was challenging for these individuals, those left in work often found themselves working even harder to keep the business going, trying their hardest to cover the work that others had been doing.

Now, as the construction sector recovers, organisations and individuals are likely to run the risk of becoming over-extended. Although stress–related ill-health has always been an unfortunate aspect of working in Construction, the problem appears to be growing at the same time that the industry is being challenged to manage Health as diligently as it does Safety.

This workshop will help participants to build effective, high-performing teams, where people feel good about coming to work and feel proud of their shared achievements.The workshop will help participants to:

• Build high-performing project teams
• Improve the personal health and wellbeing of their people
• Recognise the conditions that cause stress-related illness.
• Identify the link between productivity and wellbeing

Workshop delivery will draw on a wide range of techniques including training and development, behavioural approaches, and coaching and mentoring.

There will be a maximum of 12 participants per workshop.
Workshop participants will receive a complimentary copy of ‘Teamwork Not Paperwork: A practical guide to using the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations to deliver better projects’. Written by the workshop facilitators, this book is a helpful guide to improving project efficiency and ensuring legal compliance by developing high-performing project teams.


COMING SOON! The Wellbeing Zone

CBH realises that good health affects not just your working life but your private life too.  That’s why we will be launching the Wellbeing Zone on our website very soon.  It will provide information and healthy tips to improve your general wellbeing to make you healthier and happier while at work and at play.  Some of the topics addressed  will include:

  • Good sleeping habits and relaxation
  • Managing stress at work
  • How to keep the body healthy through exercise and fun activities
  • Eating healthily and cholesterol management
  • Quitting bad habits

So give good health a chance, do your best to be your best all the time – for more information see and
Watch this space for the CBH Wellbeing Zone – coming soon!


What employers should know about instant drug tests

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PoCTs (point-of-care or point-of-collection tests) are sometimes referred to as instant drug tests. They are small, easy to use, portable kits that are used to screen individuals for drugs of abuse at the place of sample collection. Before deciding to use PoCTs, one must understand their limitations as well as their benefits.

The process begins with the collection of an oral bodily fluid sample from the person to be screened. Typically, this is urine or saliva, or sometimes sweat.  The collected fluid is absorbed by the kit and the “magic” of the device takes over and a so-called ‘immunoassay screening test’ happens.

Imagine the fluid sample as a bunch of keys and the PoCT as a series of locked doors. Each door represents a specific drug and individual keys represent the chemical make-up of the fluid sample. Each key attempts to open each door and if none of the doors open (because none of the keys fit any of the locks), the sample is deemed to be drug- free (negative)... However, if a key opens a door then a drug has been detected (positive). Because each door is specific for a different drug, you know which precise drug is being detected.

When a drug is detected, the PoCT will typically display a coloured band to indicate the presence of a specific drug type. Saliva-based PoCT devices have become more prevalent and are commonplace screens because they are easy to use. Just a simple swab is required, which can be done with a witness present to avoid risk of tampering. However, comparative studies show that urine PoCTs are more accurate. Oral fluid has a very rapid response to the use of drugs, however, drugs disappear from oral fluid much more quickly than from urine resulting in a smaller detection window. Despite these facts it may be appropriate to use saliva PoCTs as screens when urinary samples are not made available.

All PoCTs have a ‘cut-off’. This is the smallest concentration at which a drug can be detected by a PoCT device in any given sample. If the concentration of a drug is below the cut-off for that drug, the device indicates a negative result. If the drug concentration is equal to or above the cut-off, then the device indicates a positive result.

Detection cut-offs vary between different PoCT devices and manufacturers which can lead to differing results if a sample is tested by two different brands. Currently, neither EU nor UK law specify drug cut-off levels in the workplace, leaving the responsibility to the employer.

PoCT devices are never 100% accurate due to the nature of the immunoassay reaction upon which they work. This is due to “cross-reactivity”. For example, a legal medication, such as an over-the-counter remedy purchased in a chemist can lead to a false positive or negative PoCT result because of cross-reactivity. Therefore using a PoCT device for initial screening will require laboratory-based confirmation using techniques that are resistant to cross-reactivity issues.

Not all PoCTs are of the same quality and there are no governing international standards for them. Any device used should at least be branded and carry a CE mark. Consider requesting proof of good performance and certification from the supplier.

In conclusion, PoCT devices provide an “instant” result, allowing an employer to react swiftly to possible drug abuse within a company, with minimal workforce disruption. They also cost less than laboratory-based alternatives. However, do consider the costs of any subsequent laboratory confirmatory tests as well as the implications of false positive and false negative results – the latter being a significant drawback.

The inherent inaccuracies of PoCT devices limit their use to a screening role. A screen must be followed by further laboratory-based testing before any final outcome can be confirmed.

With thanks to Dr Dan Hegarty of Express Medicals and Dr Simon Davis of Imperial College, London.

If you would like to contribute a piece to our Guest Feature slot, please email Please note contributions are subject to appropriate disclaimers and editorial stipulations. Details provided on receipt of your submission.


New Drug- Driving proposals revealed by government – be prepared!


A zero tolerance approach has been adopted for eight controlled drugs which are known to impair driving. They are:

• Cannabis
• Cocaine
• Benzoylecgonine
• MDMA (Ecstasy)
• Ketamine
• Methamphetamine
• 6-MAM (Heroin/Diamorphine)

There is already an offence of driving whilst impaired through drink or drugs, in section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.In order to prove that an offence under section 4 has been committed, it is necessary to show that the accused person was driving, attempting to drive or in charge of a vehicle; the accused person was impaired so as to be unfit to drive; and the impairment was caused by drugs.

However, from March 2015, the law will change and the Police will simply have to show that the individual has taken drugs and was either driving, attempting to drive or in charge of a vehicle. The Police will also be able to take up to three saliva tests for drugs at the roadside to identify any drugs used. If any of these are non-negative, then the motorist could be taken back to a Police station for a blood test which will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Are you ready for the changes?  It is important that your managers and supervisors are fully equipped to uphold the terms of your company’s Drugs and Alcohol policy at all times. It is important that the employees understand what the policy covers, the dangers and legal consequences of operating a vehicle while under the influence of controlled substances and/or alcohol, as well as their rights and responsibilities.


CBH - out and about

Come and meet CBH at the Wellbeing Symposium on 19th November. You'll have the opportunity to meet Kim Boggins, CBH's own Occupational Health Specialist, who will be at our stand. Find out how CBH might be able to help your organisation improve its work-related health practices!

This year, the symposium's main focus will be on mental health and emotional well-being. There will be exciting speakers and a wealth of information to supply you with tools, methods, contacts and processes to help you keep your workforce healthy, happy and motivated.

Takes place 19th November 2014 at Kent Event Centre, Maidstone. for more details.


As a supporter of the Utilities Week Conference 2014, CBH is happy to share ‘HEALTHCODE 15’ which gives you a 15% discount off entry to the event.

The conference will take place on November 25th at the Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre. This is the only cross-utility event for forward-thinking health and safety teams from UK water, gas and electricity utilities and contractors who strive to make health and safety their number one priority.


Legal News – work related health enforcements and prosecutions


In each newsletter CBH shares updates on enforcement  regarding work-related health. Here are some items that may be of interest to our readers.

HSE call on all to ‘Think Health as well as Safety’. From 22nd September HSE launched a month long HSE clampdown focused on dust hazards as well as other work related health risks.

A short video on the effective use of RPE - protect yourself against dust dangers.

A million workers at risk from asbestos – 20 at risk of dying per week.


New members round-up

Absolute Photography Ltd
AIC Steel Ltd
Amalgamated Construction Ltd
C A Drillers Ltd
CCG (Scotland) Ltd
Chiltern Thrust Bore Ltd
Dam Structures Ltd
Datum Monitoring Services
ECT Environmental Ltd
First Call Building Services Ltd
Hanover Blue
Helen's of Llandudno Ltd
Highway Care Ltd
Kwik Klik Hoardings Ltd
Lineside Structure Maintenance Ltd
LJH Group Ltd
Millcroft Scaffolding
MPB Structures Ltd
Prestec UK Ltd
Skyland Contractors Ltd
Springhead Construction Ltd
Stoneforce Ltd
Structural Membranes Specialists Ltd
SW Bruce & Co Ltd
TClarke Plc
Thorntask Ltd
William Phee


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