'New approach' needed for workplace ill-health

08-09-2006

Britain needs to look for new "joined-up" approaches towards the ongoing problem of workplace ill-health, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has claimed.

The council has published a new booklet in association with the Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive, aimed at highlighting areas for future research into the issue.

Around 28 million working days are lost every year due to occupational ill health and seven million lost to workplace injury, the ESRC claims, while after two years on Incapacity Benefit, a person is more likely to die or retire than return to work.

The public sector needs to find new ways to work more closely with the private sector, worker representatives and voluntary organisations in order to improve employee health and wellbeing, the booklet's creators said.

"The whole terrain of occupational health is transforming. And concentration on problems such as absenteeism and accidental injury is giving way to a broader vision of what a healthier and happier and more productive workforce can achieve in terms of higher performance and productivity," said ESRC chief executive, Professor Ian Diamond.



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