Wellbeing | Has Health & Safety gone mad yet?

Has Health & Safety gone mad yet?

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued its annual statistics and they make for some interesting reading.

The headlines of the report show that in the year 2021/2022 there were:

  • 8 million workers suffering from work related ill health (new or long standing)

  • 9 million work related stress, depression, or anxiety cases (new or long standing)

  • 5 million work related musculoskeletal disorder cases (new or long standing)

  • 8 million working days lost due to work related ill health and non-fatal workplace injury

  • 1 million workers suffering from COVID 19 which they believe may have been caused by exposure at work.

  • 6 million workers suffering from a work-related illness caused or made worse by the effects of COVID 19

  • 123 workers killed in work related accidents

  • 12,000 deaths caused by lung diseases linked to past exposure at work

And, in financial terms for 2019/2020 a cost of:

  • £11.2 billion for new cases of ill health excluding long latency illness such as cancer

  • £18.8 billion for work related injury and new cases of ill health excluding long latency illness such as cancer

  • £7.6 billion for work related injury

There’s a lot of statistics to take in there but they are important as they highlight that these issues are not only serious to the individuals concerned but also financially to the country as a whole!

Digging deeper into the report we find some potentially worrying trends. Before the coronavirus pandemic working days lost due to self-reported work-related illness had been more-or-less stable, however there has now been a significant increase, especially when due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. This showed significantly higher levels than average in Public Admin/Defence, Human Health/Social work, and Education functions.

There were an estimated 914,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety, around half of the total number of workers suffering a work-related illness. This has attributed a similar proportion of the total number of working days lost, i.e., 17 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/2022, the remaining 19.8 million working days lost for other work-related ill health and non-fatal injuries.

Sarah Albon, the HSE Chief Executive, says that this highlights the need for a greater focus on worker’s wellbeing. Further emphasising this point by saying, “Stress and poor mental health is the number one cause of work-related ill health. The effects of stress, depression, and anxiety can have a significant impact on an employee’s life and on their ability to perform their best at work. Britain is one of the safest places in the world to work but we need all employers to do more and take seriously their responsibilities to support good mental health at work.”

There’s obviously far more detail in the full report - Health & Safety at Work Summary Statistics for 2022 - and it’s worth having a look at how we stand compared to others. However serious this may be we in the UK are by no means the worst. The UK has consistently one of the lowest rates of fatal injury, work related injuries and work-related ill health when compared to the EU-27 countries, but not by so much that we can rest on our laurels quite yet!

As a good employer it is essential that you keep on top of understanding the cause of absences, whether or not the cause is work related.

It underpins your corporate and people management strategies. Absences also affect your operational processes and, ultimately, performance and profitability.

With accurate and detailed absence records, you can quickly identify behaviour patterns and even nip problems in the bud by getting assistance for your employees, as employers we can’t alleviate all sources of stress and anxiety but there may be something we can do. It can also prevent operational challenges from becoming performance issues. The more detailed information you maintain the more it can provide an insight and enable you to take preventative action. An accurate record of the types of medical appointments and sick leave taken can point to underlying trends and precise locations. Absenteeism could be the result of poorly designed processes and workplace equipment, supervisory and management failures, and even unmanaged safety risks.

It could also be due to reasons outside of the workplace and if action can be taken here then this in itself could help by improving morale, and thus reducing workplace stress.

So, by having captured accurate data and using the extensive reporting and analytics functions within Crown Workforce Management’s product managers can analyse the data to identify actionable insights – when is your workforce absent, why and what action can you to help your people and also to improve performance?

It provides our clients with all the insights they need to make proactive decisions that increase the productivity and performance of their workforce over the long term.

Integrating absence record data with Microsoft Power BI® displays organisation-wide data in simple form. Leadership teams can share dashboards across the organisation. Accurate absence records are brought together with data from all Crown’s core features to provide an accurate overview of an entire workforce.

To learn how Crown could help your organisation to turn its absence data into a productivity strategy, get in touch with one of our specialists today.

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