The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has backed two initiatives that will seek to make a difference to the health of the UK's workplaces and has called for 'greater teamwork' between professionals to help tackle the ill-health issue.
IOSH welcomed the publication of a written ministerial statement on the development of a national strategy for mental health and work and has also called for more teamwork and 'worker-friendly' workplaces in its response to Professor Dame Carol Black's review of the working age population.
President Ray Hurst said: "In 2006-07 a total of 13.8 million working days were lost to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. IOSH welcomes the proposal to provide mental health and employment support in a holistic way so that appropriate healthcare and back-to-work support is part of 'seamless package'.
"Good work-related health is vital for workers and their families, for employers and for the country. The key must be protection and prevention, but where illness does develop, access to effective treatment and rehabilitation must be available. This needs all relevant professionals to work together as a team," Hurst said.
"We believe employers have an opportunity to use the workplace to offer free information, guidance and support, helping to promote good health, wellbeing and quality of life to millions of people.
"However, we are concerned that resources and effort be properly focused. Further government research is needed and we're also calling on them to extend their funding and evaluation of free occupational health services, to provide tax incentives for employers who provide therapies to help facilitate sustainable rehabilitation for their workers and to pilot awareness training in rehabilitation to occupational safety and health practitioners."