It’s good to see that the Metropolitan Police is doing what it can to cut sickness absence among its employees.
It’s a shame some media decided to present this story negatively, claiming the Met was sending officers to ‘fat clubs’.
More employers should be encouraging their staff to lead healthy lifestyles. They can do this by following the Met’s lead: offering free health check-ups, fitness and dietary advice, and ensuring they have access to healthy food and fitness centres. Health and safety professionals are also well placed to help address organisational issues that impact on health.
Work-related ill health is a major problem in the 21st-century workplace, and it needn’t be. Last year, 24.6 million working days were lost as a result, and more than two million people suffered an illness they put down to work. We need better management to stop staff getting ill, and better support to help those with health problems stay at or return to work.
Encouraging staff to lead healthy lives and get a good work-life balance is something health and safety professionals feel more employers should be doing. After all, healthy staff are less likely to be sick, and likely to be more productive.
John Holden, president, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health