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HSE strategy for healthier workforce
21/05/2006

The Health and Safety Executive has laid out how it plans to address the challenges of the Government?s Health, Work and Well-being strategy.
Jonathan Rees, Deputy Chief Executive (Policy) of the HSE commented:
"More than 35 million days are lost each year to occupational ill-health and injury, costing the economy an estimated ?12 billion. Health and safety has a crucial role to play in reducing this enormous burden, preventing work-related illness and injury and improving rehabilitation and return to work support."

The Health, Work and Well-being strategy, launched by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and the HSE and supported by the Scottish Executive lays out a blueprint for change to create healthier working environments and to ensure people get the help and understanding they need to stay in work if they become ill. The strategy?s vision is to gain recognition for the benefits of work to health and well-being.

Jonathan Rees?s speech follows the Health Work and Well-being Summit on 3 May when unions, industry leaders, government ministers and other key stakeholders from across the public and private sectors signed a charter committing to deliver a healthier future for working age people.

As well as providing guidance on a wide range of health and safety issues to help minimise injuries and ill health in the workplace, other HSE contributions to the strategy will include:

Stress Management Standards ? help managers reduce levels of work-related stress and sickness absence.
Worker Involvement programme ? encouraging participation from everyone involved in a work activity, whether a manager, employee or contractor, in managing the risks associated with it.
Awareness campaigns ? following on from Backs! 2005, HSE is launching a follow-up campaign later this year which will focus on the best ways of managing back pain, including the importance of staying active, and staying in work, wherever possible.
Rees concluded:

"The strategy is a crucial part of delivering on the Government?s commitment to improving the health and well-being of the working age population. This is an ambitious programme that requires sustained commitment, genuine partnership and action by all. A successful strategy will mean more people at work for more of the time, those with health conditions and disabilities able to optimise work opportunities, and reduced health inequalities and social exclusion."




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