8 Tips for Reducing the 28 Million Working Days Lost to Ill Health

I’m sure employee care is important to your business, but does preventing ill health receive the same attention or allocation of resources as ensuring staff safety?

Sickness absence is a major cost to business and, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), work-related ill health accounts for some 28 million working days lost each year in Great Britain. All too often, insufficient emphasis is given to ill health caused by work, which can lead to long-term or permanent damage. Read on for tips on ensuring your workplace takes a positive approach to staff health.

8 Tips for Reducing the 28 Million Working Days Lost to Ill Health

There are benefits to be gained by investing in positive health management, not just managing the consequences of absence. Supporting a timely return to work following sickness absence is also beneficial to both your company and your employees. A proactive approach will deal with discomfort in the workplace before it becomes pain, sickness or absence. This, in turn, will reduce the potential for incapacity arising from chronic ill health. So where should you begin?

Top Tips for Ensuring a Healthy Workplace

  1. Consult with and involve safety representatives and employees when you carry out risk assessments, plan and prepare safe systems of work and when you review and discuss health and safety arrangements. Risk control measures can also be achieved by involving someone with occupational health experience in the risk assessment process, to ensure that medical aspects are fully included and individual vulnerabilities are taken into account.
  2. Make managing occupational health, safety and sickness absence a key priority and make sure this is led by managers at the top level.
  3. Ensure you invest in a good proactive occupational health service to promote a supportive working environment and enable employees to remain in work.
  4. Managers should be trained and confident in people skills and they should promote an attendance culture. They should also be trained to recognise common health problems, such as mental health and musculoskeletal problems.
  5. Managers should identify problems at an early stage and seek to resolve them by using informal methods.
  6. Maintain regular, supportive contact with those who are absent due to sickness, as this can impact on their motivation to return to work.
  7. Implement a robust system for recording up-to-date and accurate sickness absence data that operates in real time, and which allows sickness to be broken down by area and cause. This will enable you to proactively target specific actions to problem areas and will allow you to measure progress towards tackling sickness absence.
  8. Where required, implement appropriate health surveillance as a means of early detection.

Your employees are your best asset. Make sure you protect the health of your workers.