CASE: Company with high short-term sickness absence rate.
We were engaged to help a company manage and reduce their high short-term sickness absence rate. The company was collecting good absence data but there was no system for carrying out return to work interviews.Our Role: We delivered a robust training programme to all managers designed to help them develop their skills in questioning colleagues regarding the reason for their absence, whether related to health, work or social reasons. The training included guidance on how consultations should be carried out and the circumstances under which it became appropriate to refer an employee for additional support i.e. GP, Occupational Health or to the company’s Employee Assistance Programme.
The Outcome: After 6 months of the return to work interviews being carried out for all cases of absence, the company’s absence rate was significantly reduced and managers felt they had a much better understanding of their colleagues’ health needs.
CASE: Warehouse Operative with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
A 32 year old Warehouse Operative was asked to attend an Occupational Health appointment so that a fork lift truck health assessment could be carried out (as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive). He had been driving fork lift trucks in the warehouse, transporting chemicals, for over 5 years and had not previously been asked to attend an assessment. He presented as healthy, if a little overweight, with no known health problems or symptoms.Our Role: On examination, his blood pressure was found to be significantlyraised, warranting immediate medical attention to protect the health and safety of himself and of others. The Occupational Health Adviser arranged for him to be seen immediately by his GP who ordered investigations and commenced treatment.
The Outcome: Within 6 weeks the operative’s blood pressure was adequately managed with medication and his blood pressure returned to within normal limits. After a reassessment with the Occupational Health Adviser he was deemed fit (and indeed safe) to resume his full duties.
CASE: Stress-related illness affecting a number of employees.
Long working hours can be a contributing factor in stress related illness and it was identified that many employees in a particular client company were struggling to balance the needs of the business and their individual needs.Our Role: We worked with the company to deliver a programme of workshops, seminars and lunch and learn sessions to address the topic of stress management. In addition, the Occupational Health Team held health fairs to emphasise to staff the importance of diet, exercise and relaxation.
The Outcome: The subject of pressure is now openly talked about and staff feel happier, and appear more able, to adopt healthier behaviours and to establish better ‘boundaries’ to protect their health whilst still being able to deliver at work.
CASE: Failure to meet Health & Safety legislation regarding workstation assessments.
An employee with severe shoulder pain was referred for an Occupational Health Assessment. It was apparent that the employer, a large company, was not meeting its legal requirements under European Health and Safety legislation regarding the carrying out of workstation assessments.Our Role: We worked closely with the company to implement an online workstation training and assessment system which each employee carried out (and continues to do so). Any action points arising from the assessments are automatically fed back to the relevant department and any health issues referred for an Occupational Health Assessment.
The Outcome: The company is now not only meeting its legal obligations, but its overall absence rate for musculoskeletal issues has reduced.
CASE: Inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
A 42 year old female employee was referred for an Occupational Health Assessment due to inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. Disciplinary action was about to be taken by the employer.Our Role: We ascertained that the employee had an underlying mental health disorder and had not been taking her medication. The employee was referred back to her GP and subsequently referred to a psychiatrist for treatment. In the meantime the company agreed to make appropriate workplace adjustments. We liaised with the GP to clarify the diagnosis and ascertain the treatment plan and prognosis.
The Outcome: With ongoing treatment the employee has been able to resume her full role and continues to perform well.