Electrical Contracting News (ECN) July 2017 - Page 61

INSURANCE Reducing sickness absence First let’s look at sickness absence. According to the latest fi gures from the Offi ce for National Statistics (ONS) 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK last year, which is the equivalent of 4.3 days per worker. In sectors such as construction where skills are in short supply and the workforce is ageing, reducing injury and sickness rates is a key challenge. When someone is off sick, it may impact service levels and will invariably create added pressure and possibly, stress. When someone is off work repeatedly for the same issue, they may need support to help address the problem. We know from the data we collect on sick pay claims that the top three reasons for sickness absence in the contracting sector are; musculoskeletal conditions, general sickness (fl u/colds/bugs) and mental health. Yet health insurance claims for treating mental health conditions are a fraction of all the health insurance claims we manage. This would suggest that the contracting sector could do more to help workers get to the root causes of mental health issues. Early intervention and diagnosis Employers need to ensure that specialist health support is in place for access to early diagnosis and treatment where necessary – from MSK conditions through to cancer and mental health issues. By providing early access to support ‘A workplace that supports employee wellbeing also has a major role to play in retaining and attracting people.’ SPECIAL FEATURE and proactively using early intervention services, businesses can reduce the length of a typical absence by 17 per cent. Ongoing health monitoring and occupational health assessments are a highly effective way to identify any underlying health issues, allowing early health interventions and helping companies to manage health related issues more effectively. In 2015 nearly a third of assessments ECIS managed for members of the Joint Industry Board found potential health problems the worker was not previously aware of. This means they were able to seek the right medical attention and reduce the amount of sick leave required if the problem had persisted. Retaining and attracting skills A workplace that supports employee wellbeing also has a major role to play in retaining and attracting people. If employees are encouraged to take care of themselves and see that their employer is also interested in their health and wellbeing, this is going to lead to a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. Some fi rms in the construction sector are coming up with some innovative and creative ideas to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst their workers, such as exercise competitions using health trackers and meal ideas in support of BUPA’s Healthy Heart Month in February. These kinds of initiatives have huge benefi ts in terms of employee engagement – who wouldn’t want to work for an employer who has their best interests at heart and shows it in such a tangible and fun way? A competitive advantage Many of the benefi ts described above, for example early intervention services, form part of the JIB credit scheme, whilst businesses who are not members can access some of these services directly. The bottom line is that, businesses that look after the health and wellbeing of their staff, have a competitive advantage over those that don’t. So if you’re not one of the majority, who are taking staff health and wellbeing seriously, now is a good time to get onboard. Employers need to ensure that specialist health support is in place for access to early diagnosis and treatment where necessary. DATE FOR YOUR DIARY The ED&I industry networking dinner is taking place on the 6th September 2017, the evening between the two show days of the industries newest expo. Watch out for the email that will reveal all... If you would like to know more NOW! Call the show team on +44 (0)1634 673163 ED&I EXPO Headline Sponsor