Why You Should Attend IOSH Webinar Events

IOSH By Matthew Coombes

IOSH have built a reputation for providing great events for members and non-members alike, and they haven’t let the pandemic slow them down. They’ve focused their attention on IOSH Webinars, online events that are open to anyone and are the perfect tool for those looking to learn something new and keep their existing knowledge up to date.

A lot of these events are available for free, and provide insight into a diverse range of important topics that can’t be missed – recent topics have included ‘Sustainable return to work in mental health issues; what works for whom?’ , ‘Caring through Covid: An IOSH/SOM joint webinar – Supporting your staff to support themselves’, and ‘Mind the Gap(s)’, a series of webinars that identified change, good practice and risk within the railway industry.

These are only a few examples – IOSH webinars cover a wide range of fields and disciplines, so there’s something to suit everyone. I recently ‘e-attended’ the ‘Sustainable return to work’ webinar, and found that it was well worth the time invested, so I’ve decided to highlight some of the reasons as to why you should attend IOSH webinar events.

Important topics:

Working for a health and safety company, I can safely say that every IOSH webinar that I attend provides me with useful and interesting content to take away for myself, to recommend to a colleague, or to put into action at work. If you work in a more specifically defined role or industry, just keep your eyes peeled for webinars that might be handy within your workplace, or scope of responsibility. The best way to find out more about these webinars is to follow the IOSH twitter account, which comes with the added benefit of keeping you in the loop on a bunch of other important health and safety topics.

The topics that IOSH cover in their webinars are always up to date with current events, and applicable to the modern workplace such as “Sustainable return to work in mental health issues; what works for whom?”:

The most recent webinar that I attended was based on returning to work and mental health. This webinar comes at a time where many workplaces are phasing return to work for staff returning from absences resulting from the coronavirus and furlough scheme. I would not be surprised if soon many workplaces have staff take unplanned absences due to stress of working through the pandemic, or mental health problems exacerbated by the coronavirus and lockdowns. Although furlough and mental health are two vastly different reasons for absence from work, the processes of returning to work may overlap.

For a good majority of those I’ve spoken to that were put on furlough, it wasn’t a paid holiday, it was a period of absence spent locked in the house (for many, trying to explain to pets why you were suddenly around all the time). Many of us rely on the social interactions that we have at work as part of our normal daily quota, so being put on furlough was isolating, and without proper self-care, very detrimental. My return to work was made much more fluid as my manager kept me consistently well informed, and the actual return followed a similar structure to one of the models that were mentioned in the webinar.

Across all sectors, those remaining at work were likely understaffed, overworked, or both. During the webinar, Dr Margot Joosen highlighted that a perceived high workload, working over hours, and a high sense of ones responsibilities were a primary cause of absence in the data that their recent publications had collected. Taking this information at face value, those that worked hard through the pandemic may be at higher risk of experiencing mental health problems that could result in absence due to illness.

The speakers in this webinar highlighted the importance of managerial support in the facilitation of a good return to work process. So, with all this being said now may be a good time to identify any gaps in your occupational health and safety systems, and work towards improving what you can do within your scope of responsibilities to reduce the negative impact that your workplace has on employee’s mental wellbeing.

Expert Speakers:

IOSH select speakers from all over the world with relevant experience on the topic in question, that bring expert opinions and viewpoints, and help to create a holistic view on the subject under discussion. The most recent mental health webinar was presented by Dr Margot Joosen, Professor Dr Evelien Brouwers, Dr Jo Yarker, and Mary Ogungbeje from IOSH.

Breakdown difficult topics:

Some of the topics that are covered, such as “Sustainable return to work in mental health issues; what works for whom?” webinar are very in-depth, with a large grounding in scientific and occupational research projects. Often the speakers will break down the topic into easy-to-understand chunks, so you can easily process all the facts, percentages, and statements ready to apply to your understanding of the topic.

Links for further reading:

Many presenter’s viewpoints and findings are based on research in to the field – this means that most of the information has a source that is based in academic writing in some form. Many speakers like to share references for further reading as part of the presentation, or in evidence of what they are saying. This gives a great opportunity to look for further reading into a topic and help develop your understanding of the topic beyond the webinar.

Staying connected:

These days, most of us use social media to stay connected in some way or another, and equally many people embrace it as a means to share their work. After a seminar, if you found the information useful and would like to follow updates from any of the speakers, you can find many of them use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn in order to share their work. This can be a great opportunity to naturally stay connected to the topic and learn more information from the people who know it best.

Apply what you learn straight away:

In some cases the webinars are like short awareness level courses, with information that you can apply to your workplace right away. I found that I was automatically relating what I was learning to my own workplace, and thinking of ways in which the information directly applies, or where I could work to apply it to our processes.

The event:

If you can make the time to attend an IOSH webinar live you will have the opportunity to pose questions directly to the panel. This doesn’t guarantee that they will be answered because (as with any other live event) it is dependent on the schedule, and volume of questions received. A plus side of this is that others will be asking questions about the topic that you might not have thought of, which is a great way to get further perspectives on a subject.

Some of the IOSH webinars are posted to the IOSH YouTube channel or the IOSH Website after the event, but this is dependent on several factors including whether the attendees have given IOSH permission to be recorded. Everyone has a right to privacy, so be there or you might miss out!


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