Author Bio ▼

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
November 27, 2018

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Sickness absence

One in three companies do not record long-term sickness absence

British manufacturers have called on the Government to ensure all companies have access to an occupational health (OH) service, as a new survey reveals almost a third of companies do not record long-term sickness absence.

The survey of by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and the specialist insurance broker Howden found that while the vast majority (81%) of employers are providing their employees with access to OH services, many are still not recording work-related absences.

According to the survey, almost a third of companies do not record long-term sickness absence.

The survey also found while a third of companies identify work-related absence, two fifths do not.

The survey also shows that waiting time for medical surgery/investigation, tests and recovery from surgery remains the biggest cause of work-related absence followed by stress.

Both of these have been heading higher in EEF’s three previous surveys, while other health conditions such as back problems, heart conditions and cancer have either plateaued or declined.

Furthermore, of the three main causes of work related absence – Musculo Skeletal Disorders (MSDs), Occupational Lung Disease (OLD), Stress/Mental Health issues – around half of the companies surveyed were unaware whether their risk control measures have an impact on the number of ill-health cases.

The survey report urges the Government to find an urgent replacement for the ‘Fit for Work’ service to manage long-term absence.

It also calls on ministers to involve organisations such as the Health & Safety Executive to help keep up momentum on OH and to help prioritise the treatment of work-related ill health

“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,” said EEF’s Head of Health and Safety Policy, Terry Woolmer.

“The focus on OH 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.”

The Managing Director of Employee Benefits for Howden UK, Glenn Thomas, added: “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.”

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

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