Work-related ill health and injury are estimated to cost the UK economy £14.6 billion a year.

Work-related ill health and injury is any health condition or injury caused or made worse by your job. For example, injuries such as a slip or a trip or slower injuries such as the development of repetitive strain or work-related stress.

In a recent report by the health and safety executive (HSE) states that 1.4 million workers are suffering from work-related ill health (new or long-standing) and 26.8 million working days lost due to work-related ill health in 2017/18.

Work related ill health

                                       HSE (Health and Safety Executive)

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety have been the most common type of work-related ill health with 595,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Prevent work-related ill health and injury by using the following methods:

Mental health

A recent study by Acas states that mental health costs employers in the UK £30 billion every year through lost production, recruitment and absence. There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to mental health and how common is it in society today. Therefore, understanding mental health at work is crucial.

Providing staff with mental health awareness education and training will ensure that staff have a good understanding of mental health and will also promote a positive environment. An employer can also publicise its commitment to promoting positive mental health across the organisation, this will promote a normalised culture to mental health and will encourage staff to talk to their managers and colleagues.

Tackling mental health will bring many benefits to an employer such as increases in staff productivity, higher levels of staff retention and happier staff.

Physical health

Employers can encourage staff to increase the amount of physical activity they do. Good physical health and wellbeing among staff can reduce levels of sickness, boost energy levels and increase concentration. Employers should develop an organisation-wide plan to encourage staff to be more physically active by encouraging them to move around more at work or set goals on how far they walk and cycle.

Other inexpensive and effective ways employers can promote physical activity is by supporting sports and activity clubs such as football, walking and jogging groups, purchasing corporate memberships of local authority sporting facilities or health clubs and providing bicycle racks to encourage people to cycle to work etc.

There are numerous ways in which an organisation can promote physical activity and most of them are inexpensive and easy to implement. Employers will benefit from reduced sickness absence rates, increased productivity, lower staff turnover and high morale if staff are physically active.

Good work-life balance

A fast-paced work environment often forces staff to work quite long hours. There are various steps an employer can take in promoting a healthy work-life balance, a good starting point would be to acknowledge the importance of a work-life balance.

An efficient way for employers to promote a healthy work-life balance is to ask staff exactly what they need. For example, having staff fill out a survey about various factors about the company such as hours worked, flexible scheduling and support for working parents. This will help an employer identify areas of improvement.

Employers can also embrace “flexitime” as a method to promote a healthy work-life balance. Flexitime allows staff to have flexible work hours or days. Staff can space out their weekly hours, for example, 10 hours on Tuesday but 6 on Wednesday, but the total weekly hours must be made up, which on average is 35-40 hours per week. Flexitime will allow staff to have a life outside of work and promotes a healthy work-life balance which will reduce the levels of stress or anxiety within the workplace.

Cohort – The Occupational Health Software will enable you to reduce your sickness absence rate and the time this takes to monitor, track and control, hopefully allowing more time to be spent on alternative campaigns, problem staff and adding true value to your business. Check out Cohort’s modules and functionality.