Workplace eye care
‘Workplace eye care can improve health, wellbeing, productivity and morale’, says employers
A recent study from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare asked over 500 HR decision makers what they thought were the advantages to offering workplace eye care.
Of those who have responded, 42%, cited improved health and wellbeing, due to the early detection of illnesses through an eye examination. Improved productivity was the advantage cited by 37% of respondents, due to a reduction of ailments such as headaches and tired eyes. Over a third, 35%, believe improved morale is a key advantage of eye care at work.
Jim Lythgow, Director of Strategic Alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: “To have such a high level of employer buy-in to the benefits of eye care is great. There is no magic bullet but if, as a simple but effective benefit, eye care can play even a small part in improving the lives of employees and, therefore, increasing productivity, then that has to be a good thing.”
An eye examination can not only test the eyesight and check the health of the eye, it can also play an important role in detecting illnesses and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, tumours and risk of stroke. An eye examination includes viewing the small blood vessels at the back of the eye and these can give early indications of serious conditions that may otherwise only be detected as symptoms present or under more invasive investigation. On a lesser scale, an eye examination can also help with problems like headaches, migraine and dry or tired eyes, which is clearly something that employers believe aids productivity.
Eye care provision
The research also discovered that only half (52%) of companies and organisations provide employees with eye care at work.
The majority of workers are legally entitled to company-funded eye care for safety reasons, because they drive for work or use a screen. Employees who regularly use a display screen, including a smartphone, for work-related reasons, are likely to fall under the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations, which entitles them to eye care.
Jim Lythgow continued: “This suggests there may be a significant number of UK companies and organisations not providing the eye care they should be.”
The survey went on to ask those that did offer eye care in the workplace the reason behind making this provision. The majority of these (52%) provide it as part of their health and wellbeing offering.
“It is interesting that the majority of employers that provide eye care do so to support the health and wellbeing of their workforce,’ said Jim Lythgow. “We should move away from seeing eye care as a tick-box exercise just to meet legal obligations and start understanding its worth as a fundamental part of health and wellbeing in the workplace.”
In fact, despite the health and safety regulations requiring eye care to be provided for all screen users, just 38% of respondents gave this as their reason for providing eye care at work. Over a third (35%) said they provide it purely as an employee benefit and exactly a third (33%) said it is provided to employees who require safety eyewear. Drivers were at the bottom of the list, with just a quarter (26%) of employers providing eye care to employees who drive as part of their working role.
While it is clear that COVID-19 has been not just a societal threat but also a matter of risk management, employers must again look to how businesses will safely reopen in line with the Government’s Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance to ensure that they are COVID-secure. To help you navigate the confusing and fast-changing regulations, guidance and legislation – get your free copy of the April 2021 Legislation Update.
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