Is legislation required on rehabilitation?

The TUC issued a press release during July claiming that rehabilitation is
the missing link in workplace safety and sickness absence.

It sounded a warning to the Government that targets specified in the
strategy document, Revitalising Health and Safety, are unlikely to be met
unless a legal duty is imposed on employers to have a policy on rehabilitation.
And they remain unlikely to be reached until there is a major expansion in the
rehabilitation services available to victims of accidents or ill health.

IOSH is currently formulating a guidance document on occupational health and
the topic of rehabilitation is among many considered. The institution fully
supports improved access to occupational health support to everyone, as
identified in the Occupat- ional Health Advisory Committee report, and this
includes the rehabilitation of workers returning to work after an accident.

The cost to the bottom line when an individual leaves the workforce due to
ill health should not be ignored and when highlighted, could be used to justify
more comprehensive and effective rehabilitation programmes.

The loss of people, many of whom are the holders of the organisation’s
corporate knowledge, can be severely detrimental to business performance.

Members of IOSH are encouraged to utilise their risk assessment and
management skills to identify suitable rehabilitation strategies for such
employees, helping them return to the workforce – even if it means in an
alternative role.

In short, helping an employee back to work after an accident costs a company
less than recruiting a replacement for them.

Perhaps it is this financial incentive, coupled with the obvious moral
obligation, and not any new legislation that should be motivating more
employers to offer rehabilitation to their staff.

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