Work-related ill health and occupational disease caused almost 26 million lost work days in Britain in 2016/17. In the UK alone sickness absence costs the economy £100bn each year, £8bn of that is due to mental ill-health, and presenteeism (working when unfit to do so) is estimated to cost a further £15bn.
Occupational illnesses can also be fatal. Worldwide, a daily average of around 7,600 deaths are linked to work. Recent research revealed that 86% of these are caused by occupational diseases rather than accidents.
Line managers and supervisors have critical roles in preventing this from happening. This week a new course for managers will be launched by IOSH, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, to help tackle this problem.
IOSH has developed ‘Managing Occupational Health and Wellbeing’ to equip managers with the right knowledge and techniques to recognise health risks and the range of skills needed to manage people with health issues.
The new course, showcased at the Safety and Health Expo (SHE) at Excel London 19-21 June, is one of the first courses of its kind developed specifically to help managers look after the physical and mental wellbeing of their workers.
Looking after workers’ health and wellbeing is now top priority in the world of work. Going beyond the moral imperative for doing so, it also makes good business sense, as evidenced in IOSH’s recent publication, The Healthy Profit.
Tony Bickerstaff, Chief Financial Officer of British technology-based construction and engineering firm Costain, said of this course:
“An important part of any manager’s job is looking after the health of their employees. If they can do that I am absolutely sure the employees will perform better, their teams will perform better, and so businesses will perform better.
“The course sets the right tone at the right time. There are a lot of people talking about health and wellbeing in the workplace, but I think some businesses are struggling with how they go about addressing it.
“I think the position of this course, to help line-managers gain competence in this area, has got to be a good thing for them and a good thing for their companies.”
Bev Messinger, IOSH Chief Executive, said; “Health, safety and wellbeing should be a priority in every organisation.
“I’m proud to be part of bringing this course to all business managers, reaching beyond the network of occupational safety and health professionals.
“By equipping all managers with the tools to recognise health and wellbeing risks in their environments and how to deal with them, this course forms part of IOSH’s WORK 2022 strategy to make the world of work a safer place.
“This is such an important part of occupational safety and health today that all IOSH people managers will be undertaking this course.”
The financial cost to business and the devastating emotional cost to friends and families of work-related illnesses is huge.
An Opinium survey of leaders of medium-sized businesses for the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in 2017 found 40% said sickness absence had had a significant, detrimental impact on their organisation’s productivity in the last five years.
The one-day course has been designed with the help of Christina Butterworth of the Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing Development Group and is delivered by a network of IOSH approved training providers. The course is for anyone who manages activities of employees and covers four key areas:
- A healthy company – what it means to commit to the health of the workforce
- Health risk management – how to protect the workforce from health risks
- Fitness for work – how to manage the effects of health on work
- Wellbeing – giving information and tools to maintain optimal heath
For more information on the course visit our website http://www.iosh.co.uk/ManagingOHW