Up to 39% of long-term sickness absence is caused by musculoskeletal problems and 30% by stress, a survey by an HR consultancy has suggested.
The survey of more than 600 companies, by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, found musculoskeletal problems and stress were also responsible for 23% and 14% of short-term absences.
Despite this, more than three-quarters of companies did not provide employee assistance programmes, and two-thirds did not have stress management services.
Four out of 10 employers did not have an OH service, even though more than half of them believed that employee absence was a problem.
"Companies that invest in well-targeted and effective OH services generally experience much lower sickness absence costs.
"The savings can be up to five or six times the amount spent on OH," said Christine Owen, head of health management consulting at Mercer.