Occupational health

Government launches occupational health taskforce to tackle long-term sickness & waiting lists

The government has launched a new occupational health taskforce to tackle long-term sickness and drive down waiting lists.

The taskforce, spearheaded by Dame Carol Black, will develop a voluntary occupational health framework for businesses, due this summer.

The framework will lay out the minimum levels of occupational health required to put an end to sickness-related job losses, and support people back into the workplace after a period of ill-health.

The government says less than three in every 10 (28%) employers provide occupational health to its workforce. Large employers (89%) are almost three times more likely than small-medium enterprises (28%) to provide occupational health.

Helen Whately comment

Ultimately, the taskforce aims to educate employers of the benefits of occupational health, and empower them to effectively harness such benefits.

It will also look to remove barriers by providing specific support to SMEs with restricted finances, and ensure the framework applies across different sectors.

“We will encourage employers to embrace practices that prevent or reduce ill-health related job loss,” says the tsar of the occupational health taskforce, Dame Carol Black.

She adds: “We know the impact high sickness absence and presenteeism has on businesses and their productivity, which is why I am so pleased to work with other members of the Taskforce to ensure occupational health support is in place for employees and employers alike.”

The government recently rolled out its occupational health innovation fund, which has provided £1m in investment to 10 projects to develop new solutions.

Image credit: iStock

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