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Sickness absence: The importance of early Occupational Health intervention

Main image 24 May, 2019

Employee sickness absence can negatively affect your whole team and your business. The longer someone is off work, the harder it can be for them to return. In fact, current data indicates that if a person is off work due to sickness for 12 months or more, they have only a 20% chance of ever returning to work. 

GPs have a duty to act on their patients’ behalf of course, but they’re not best placed to understand the specifics of your business. This can potentially lead to unnecessarily prolonged periods of sickness certification, when the reality is that the employee is often able, and indeed wishes, to return to some form of work as part of their recovery.

Early occupational health assessment intervention and advice is the therefore essential. Read on to find out how it could help you manage sickness absence more effectively, and make all the difference to the health and wellbeing of your team and to your business.

Equal opportunities in the workplace
Should an employee become ill, injured, or disabled, their employer should make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to enable them to return to work. This is particularly the case with conditions that are likely to fall under the terms of the Equality Act 2010. 

Workplace adjustments – there’s no ‘one size fits all’
Even simple adjustments in the workplace can make a huge difference. The scope of necessary workplace adjustments can vary according to the business and the individual’s needs. For example, a phased return to work and other adjustments, often of a temporary and practical nature, can help to ease employees back into their role, but it’s important that the specific needs of your workplace are taken into account.

Getting help with workplace adjustments
YourGP has a team of specialist Occupational Health professionals who can work closely with your business and advise on any necessary workplace adjustments, enabling your business and employees to achieve their full potential once again.

Finding out more
You can find more information about workplace adjustments on the Health and Safety Executive website at www.hse.gov.uk/disability/law.htm. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-workers. In addition, it’s worth noting you may be eligible for funding, so take a look at https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work.

And remember, if you’d like to speak to an Occupational Health specialist that can tailor solutions to your business’ needs, call YourGP on 0131 225 5656 or email occhealth@your.gp and we’ll be happy to help.

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