TUC in return-to-work drive

Conference to tackle problem of work-related illness and injury

The TUC wants to reduce the number of people forced to give up work because
of work-related illness or injury.

According to its consultation document Getting Better at Getting Back,
launched last month, the main occupational injuries of stress, repetitive
strain injury and back pain, lead to 17 million lost working days each year.

However these are the problems most likely to respond to rehabilitation,
retraining and workplace adaptation, according to the TUC.

As part of the consultation exercise, ministers from three departments will
be speaking at conferences set up to tackle the issue. Department for Education
and Employment minister Margaret Hodge will be speaking in London on 11 May,
Social Security minister Hugh Bayley will be in Newcastle on 22 May, and Lord
Whitty, minister for health and safety at the DETR, will speak in Manchester on
26 May.

According to the TUC, 25,000 people leave the workforce altogether every
year due to injury or illness caused by work. More than 500,000 people take
time off every year because of a work-related condition and the average time
taken in sick leave by people with a work-related condition is just over seven
weeks per annum.

Proposals for a rehabilitation programme include legal requirements for
employers to include a policy in the event of an accident or illness among the
workforce and financial incentives for employers to report and act on injuries

"Getting people back to work after an injury is something Britain has
done badly and must do better if we want to protect people from poverty and
improve our international competitiveness," said TUC general secretary John

For copies of the TUC document tel: Gerry Robinson on 020-7698 3020. www.tuc.org.uk

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