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Britain’s manufacturers are urging the Government to use its review of Occupational Health (OH) provision in the UK to ensure all companies have access to an OH service as part of a much wider overarching strategy for tackling more than just work related sickness absence.
The call comes on the back of a major survey Make UK/Howden of Work and Health at UK manufacturers. The survey found that that the time spent waiting for medical surgery/investigation, tests and recovery from surgery remains the biggest cause of work-related absence followed by stress. Both have progressively increased since 2009 whilst other health conditions such as back problems, heart conditions and cancer have either plateaued or declined.   

“It has long been recognised that a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. Investment in the wellbeing of employees by both the employer and Government makes sense not just for good business practice but also the benefits to wider society from reduced benefits and pressure on a stretched NHS system.

“The focus on Occupational Health needs to regain momentum, however, especially given the upward trend of a number of causes of long term absence. This should involve practical short term measures such as a replacement for the ‘Fit for Work’ service, as well as a long term focus on a wider strategy for employee health that goes way beyond just managing absence.” Terry Woolmer, Head of Health & Safety Policy, Make UK

“In addition to Government provision, manufacturing businesses also have a role to play. It’s encouraging to see that manufacturers are making use of Occupational Health (OH) provisions within the workplace and are adopting a broad range of methods, for instance 38% adopting an employee assistant programme (EAP) to help combat work related stress.

“Whilst employee wellbeing is high on industry agendas it is apparent that businesses need to maximise return on their benefit spend. This is echoed in the report, with many companies not knowing whether the measures they put in place are reducing absences or having a positive impact on employee health and wellbeing. Business leaders need to engage with employees to find out which services are best suited and make sure that employees are using the benefits provided to them.” Glenn Thomas, Managing Director, Employee Benefits, Howden UK

Available resources

Industry report / HSCE