OH campaign helps Met reduce sickness absence

The Metropolitan Police Service has reduced its sickness absence by an
average of two days for every officer after the launch of a major health
promotion scheme.

The number of days the average officer spends off duty because of illness or
injury is now 8.8 days, falling from 10.8 days in 2001, and exceeding the
target of nine days set for 2004.

Martin Tiplady, the Met’s HR director told Personnel Today that a concerted
campaign on good health coupled with proactive occupational health (OH)
policies helped to cut sickness absence.

"We’ve invested a lot of time to make sure managers are looking at
absenteeism at a local level and ensuring there is intervention at a very early
stage," he said.

There was also a hot-spotting campaign, where the OH department would target
areas where sickness was high or where certain types of illness were
particularly prevalent.

OH would then work with the relevant managers to try and resolve any health
issues and develop systems to deal with future problems.

"The reduction is a credit to the hard work and support given to
officers by our OH department, and we will be trying to reduce the figures even
further," he added.

Work-related illness has been one of the major HR headaches for the service,
with the force losing more than £100,000 of police time a day to sickness
absence.

The Met has now launched a year-long health promotion drive advising
officers on fitness, stress, healthy eating and cancer prevention.

By Ross Wigham

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