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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
August 24, 2010

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Workers unwilling to inform their employer about health concerns

The majority of UK workers would rather keep a health concern or personal issue to themselves than tell their boss or colleagues, according to new research by Aviva UK Health.

The study questioned 1004 employees and found that only 4 percent would approach their boss with a health concern and a further 5 percent said they might confide in a colleague. By contrast nearly two thirds of those questioned said they would talk about the issue with their partner.

Nearly a quarter of employees stated that they would rather suffer in silence in order to safeguard their privacy, and 21 percent admitted to thinking that health concerns could affect their work prospects.

The survey also questioned 204 key decision makers from a variety of SMEs and found that 39 per cent claim to make a point of identifying employee issues. A similar percentage said they operate an open door policy.

Aviva believe that although employers do seem to be taking positive steps to tackle health issues through the introduction of benefits such as private health insurance, group income protection and confidential helplines, they are doing little to communicate that support services are available.

The group’s principal clinical consultant, Dr Doug Wright, said: “It’s good to see that employers recognise the importance of having an open door policy when it comes to their employees’ health and wellbeing, but we want to make them aware of the worrying disconnect between their perception and the reality to help them take steps to tackle the issues. 
“The breakdown in communication between employers and their staff means that health risks such as stress in the workplace are not being effectively managed. Lack of employee engagement will also hinder an employer’s ability to intervene early and offer their employees the right support at the right time.
 “With the help of providers such as Aviva, employers can start to break down these communication barriers by ensuring they have specialist support networks and services in place for their employees.”

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.


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13 years ago

Communication issues which are usually present within organisations are best solved internally. The best way I have found to increase the knowledge of services in-house is to encourage colleagues in different departments to market the service for you through providing them with information and training. They can then promote the excellent wellbeing and occupational health services which your company has spent its money on.