Port Training Services (Port of Blyth)
|Company name||Port Training Services (Port of Blyth)|
|Number of employees||96|
|Type of workforce||Mainly male manual workers|
What issue was the organisation facing?
The Port of Blyth sits on the North East coast and has a mainly male workforce, working erratic shift patterns. Having identified a lack of training within the business, the port decided to set up its own organisation to introduce vocational training through NVQs.
As a result, dockers were invited to take part in sessions to gauge their maths and literacy skills, as well as their knowledge on the basics of healthy eating and exercise.
Staff organising the sessions found workers lacked basic skills and knowledge in all areas, and that significant numbers of them survived on a daily diet of take-away food, washed down with eight cans of beer while smoking 40 cigarettes.
Training manager Colin Bassam said:
"The port is a hazard environment where Health and Safety are paramount. However, it is no use having all these high quality safety procedures in place if your workforce is off sick due to effects of a poor attitude to their health and well-being."
What action did the organisation take?
Introduction of NVQ training acted as the catalyst for promoting a healthier lifestyle and financial awareness programme.
Working with the health training coordinator from the South East Northumberland Health Trust, Port Training Services developed an NVQ induction that included a half-day workshop on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle and well-being.
Colin Bassam said it was an excellent opportunity to engage with male staff for the first time.
"Some individuals had a diet that was virtually devoid of any type of fruit or vegetable – this also applied to the rest of the family including the young children," he said.
"It was apparent there was a major problem that needed addressing and we as an organisation could play a major role in trying to readdress these issues."
As a result, Port Training Services introduced a monthly education programme that included sessions on:
- Healthy eating
- How to identify symptoms of cancer
- Blood pressure testing
- Weight checks
- Free fruit baskets in amenity rooms
- Sporting activities, including cycling to work
- Managing finances and debt.
They identified employees with uncontrolled hypertension, type 2 diabetes and skin cancer who all went for treatment. Many staff also quit smoking, lost weight and improved health behaviours.
What has been the impact of implementing health interventions?
The Port has started to monitor sickness records and there is a marked reduction in those of sick since the campaign began.
So far in 2010, sickness is 1% of hours worked compared with the 2009 average of 4.4% and the 2008 average of 6%.
The port is also experiencing improved productivity, lower staff turnover, better morale – and healthier, happier individuals.
The work Port of Blyth has done in this area was recognised when it won the Health, Work and Well-being Award for Small Business at last year’s National Business Awards.
Port Training Services is now encouraging other companies within the port estate to get involved and promote healthier lifestyles.