Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
June 15, 2015

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

EEF survey: huge mental health challenge

Pic credit: Newscast Online

Pic credit: Newscast Online

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, is urging government, employers and GPs to take firmer action over mental health and stress-related sickness absence, amid evidence that it remains in the ‘too difficult to deal with’ box.

The move comes as the EEF and Jelf Employee Benefits publish the manufacturers’ organisation’s latest sickness absence survey today, which shows that employers and GPs are struggling to deal with mental health issues in the workplace and growing concerns at long-term absence trends.

Terry Woolmer, EEF’s head of health and safety policy, will be presenting the survey’s headline findings tomorrow at 13.30pm in the BOHS Worker Health Protection Theatre at Safety & Health Expo, held at London ExCeL.

Professor Sayeed Khan, EEF’s chief medical adviser, is speaking about stress and mental health issues at IOSH’s conference tomorrow at 15.10pm.

He said: “While overall absence levels remain low, there continues to be a marked difference between short and long-term absence which is creeping up.

“Without a renewed effort to tackle its root causes it will continue to act as a drag on the economy and efforts to improve productivity and boost growth.”

Professor Khan added that the gradual increase in stress and mental health-related problems over the last five years was a particular concern.

“As a society we can no longer ignore the very real impact of these issues both on the individuals concerned and the wider economy,” he added.

“While employers and GPs appear able to manage other causes of absence they must now be given the tools to deal with stress and mental health issues in the same way.”

The survey reveals that stress and mental illness is regarded as the most difficult form of absence to make workplace adjustments for with almost a third of companies saying this is the case.

Furthermore, a third of employers said that they do not have approaches for managing mental health-related long-term absence, while evidence suggests GPs also find it difficult to suggest workplace adjustments, highlighting the need for more training in this area.

Just one-in-ten companies provide training for line managers in mental health issues and only 2 per cent of companies have an open mental health disclosure policy, suggesting business matches society in finding it a difficult issue to address.

SHP’s July issue will feature an article on the latest survey and its findings and a longer version will appear on SHP Online later this month.

Readers that would like to view the survey and access EEF’s full story should visit:



What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


Related Topics

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
9 years ago

Human Factors are not rocket science yet, the “I see no ships” deniability issues surrounding the average 20% workplace performance deficits directly associated with work-stress related fatigue manifesting in “presenteeism” accounting for an average 30 days lost productivity per annum exacerbated by Screen Fatigue and/or CVS is foreseeable and predictable. Obviously, Screen fatigue is not the only stressor in the modern workplace contributing to the degree of performance anxiety increasingly affecting employees levels of engagement where a significant degree of loss of meaning and purpose is also an exacerbating human factor compounding disaffection promoting the sense that they are no… Read more »

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
9 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Dupree

Perhaps if the resistance by employers to, the now not so new 2012, EU MSD Directive could have be seen as an “opportunity” rather than a problem, to be put off to another day and runaway from, the concept of Stress Auditing might already, not only, be part of UK regulation by 2015 and be providing the UK with significant cost/benefits in productivity if dot gov & HSE had got behind the TUC and EU unions – Doh