Maximising Benefits of Occupational Health
Employers play a critical role in fostering a healthy and productive work environment. Understanding and implementing occupational health measures benefits both employees and the organisation.
The following action points offer a structured pathway for employers to maximise the benefits of occupational health services, ensure a supportive workplace, and maintain a resilient and thriving business. Adopting these practices, employers can proactively manage health in the workplace, leading to reduced absenteeism, enhanced productivity, and a positive organisational reputation.
Recognise the Value of Early Engagement:
Actively engage with occupational health services to enhance employee well-being and productivity. Understand that early intervention can prevent minor health issues from becoming serious, thereby reducing long-term absenteeism and maintaining productivity.
Shift to a Proactive Approach:
Move from a reactive stance to a proactive one in occupational health. Instead of waiting for illnesses or injuries to occur, focus on preventing and addressing health issues before they arise. This approach reduces extended absences, boosts productivity, and cuts long-term health care costs.
Identify and Act on Early Indicators:
Monitor subtle changes in employee behaviour or performance, which can be early indicators of underlying health issues. Addressing concerns promptly can prevent long-term absences and avoid the negative impact on team morale and workload.
Invest in Occupational Health Services:
Allocate budget for occupational health services, understanding that the initial outlay can lead to long-term savings from reduced absenteeism, lower staff turnover, and avoiding costly legal issues. Embrace the less obvious benefits, such as ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation and enhancing your reputation as a caring employer.
Understand the Distinction Between Occupational Health and GP Reports:
Acknowledge the specific focus of occupational health reports on how an individual’s health affects their work and vice versa. Utilise these reports for practical recommendations for adjustments or treatments to facilitate work performance or return to work.
Implement a Structured Referral Process:
Establish a clear process for occupational health referrals, including identifying the need for intervention, obtaining employee consent, and collating all relevant information about the employee and their job before making the referral.
Conduct Sensitive and Inclusive Assessments:
Ensure that occupational health assessments are conducted by qualified professionals and involve the employee in discussions about any adjustments or interventions. Share the report with the employee before making decisions.
Actively Respond to Occupational Health Assessments:
Carefully review occupational health reports, arrange meetings with employees to discuss findings, and implement recommended adjustments or support. Regularly review the effectiveness of these measures and involve the employee in this ongoing process.
Comply with Legal Requirements:
Understand and adhere to legal obligations, especially if the report suggests the employee has a condition qualifying as a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Make reasonable adjustments to support the employee in doing their job.
Maintain Confidentiality and Documentation:
Ensure the confidentiality of health information provided, allowing access only to those directly involved in managing the employee. Keep detailed records of all steps taken in response to the occupational health report for compliance and dispute resolution purposes.
Employers who proactively engage with occupational health services and implement these action points can foster a healthier, more resilient workforce. This approach benefits both the employees and the organisation through reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and a positive work environment.
If you are looking for more information on this topic please see our recent newsletter article
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A qualified employment law solicitor and our managing director, Angela has unparalleled legal expertise and decades of experience and knowledge to draw from. She’s a passionate speaker and writer that loves to keep employers updated with upcoming changes to legislation, and is a regular guest speaker on BBC Leicester Radio.