Addressing occupational health concerns isn't optional. All employers have a legal duty of care to their employees.
Advantages of promoting occupational health
Taking occupational health seriously can also bring a range of business benefits:
- lower absenteeism - for further information, see manage absence and sickness
- improved relationships with customers and suppliers
- improved productivity
- reduced staff turnover
Overall, it can cut your business' costs and improve its performance.
Occupational health risks
Tackling occupational health in your workplace broadly involves addressing:
- repetitive strain injury or work-related upper limb disorders
- back pain
- bullying, discrimination and harassment by other staff, managers or members of the public, such as customers
- the control of hazardous substances
- heat, light and noise
Occupational health problems are not only limited to immediate injury and disease. They can include the effects of long-term exposure to things like:
- asbestos and other fibres
- vapours and dusts
- bacteria and viruses
- noise and vibration
- other physical risks
They can also include psychological and social issues such as violence, bullying and sexual harassment.
Promoting occupational health
You should use the workplace as a setting to promote health in areas such as:
- drug and alcohol use
- disease prevention and control, eg coronary heart disease and obesity
You must comply with the smoking ban in most enclosed public places, workplaces and company vehicles used by more than one person.
Support employees when they become ill by:
- following best practice on rehabilitation
- making reasonable adjustments
For more information on your wider health and safety duties, see what you need to do about health and safety.