Firms admit more must be done to cut risks to employees

Formal
employee risk management policies and training are needed if sickness absence
costs are to be reduced, according to a report that reveals organisations are
aware more needs to be done to tackle the problem.

Seven
out of 10 private-sector and 80 per cent of public-sector companies’ executives
admit they need to do more on employee risk management, including dealing with
stress and absenteeism, the study by Glasgow Caledonian University found.

The
report claims that managing the issue more effectively could save UK firms at
least £1.5bn a year out of the total annual cost to business of sickness
absence of £10bn.

Seven
out of 10 public-sector organisations see investment in managing employment
risks as a priority, compared to only half of the public-sector companies
polled.

Employee
stress is cited by 70 per cent of firms as the risk most likely to increase
over the next few years, but the research reveals that most employers do not
have adequate measures for assessing these risks.

Eight
out of 10 employers assess physical risk exposure at work, but only a small
percentage conduct assessments relating to stress at work.

Dr
Lynn Drennan, head of the division of risk at Glasgow Caledonian University,
said, "The perception is that more needs to be done in order to manage
risk effectively. It is interesting that the public sector appears to be ahead
of the private sector, although this may be due to the publicity given to a
number of high-profile stress claims from the teaching and social work
professions." 

The
report polled 170 organisations.

By Paul Nelson

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