Occupational Health & Wellbeing Support
Occupational health, as defined by the Joint ILO/WHO Committee
on Occupational Health, involves the:
- Promotion and maintenance of the upmost physical, mental and
social well-being of workers in all occupations.
- Prevention and protection of workers in their employment from
risks resulting from factors adverse to health.
- Placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational
environment adapted to his physiological and psychological
- Adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job.
The main focus in occupational health is on three different
- Maintenance and promotion of workers' health and working
- Improvement of the working environment and work to become
conducive to safety and health.
- Development of work organisations and working cultures in a
direction which supports health and safety at work and in doing so
also promotes a positive social climate and smooth operation and
may enhance productivity of the undertakings.
Embracing the need for occupational health and wellbeing is
beneficial for employees who can be more effective workers and
employers who benefit from healthier and more productive
Following the publication ofHealth at Work - An Independent
Review of Sickness Absence in Great Britain, the DWP will be
establishing the Health and Work Service during 2014. it will
- A state funded assessment by a professional with occupational
health skills, for employees sick for 4 weeks (or earlier if
required), with referral being made by the GP in most
- Advice regarding interventions, which could facilitate a return
- Signposting to other services for support which may fall into
one or more of three groups:
- Health related issues
- Workplace issues and work place adjustments.
- Non health-related issues and non-work issues.
- Case management for those employees with complex needs, to
return to work.
- Advice to employers, employees and GPs via phone and an on-line
The service will be for people who are in work, not the
It aims to support employees who have health challenges to
remain in or return to work. Additional key benefits include:
- Individual health and wellbeing: the longer
someone is absent from work due to sickness, the harder it is to
get back to work, and long-term worklessness causes more than
financial loss, but is damaging to health and social wellbeing. The
HWS will aim to get people back to work as soon as
- Knowledge of good occupational health: by
increasing the availability of relevant occupational health advice,
the HWS should help to make employees, employers and GPs more
informed about the benefits of health and work on an individual's
- Occupational health standing: the creation of a national
service will help to strengthen occupational health as a
profession, noting that professionals with occupational health
skills are expected to include occupational therapists,
physiotherapists, psychologists and others, in addition to
occupational health physicians and nurses.
- Preventative measures: the HWS is open to GPs,
employers and employees, at any time. This can help to ensure that
individual employees, employers and GPs are provided with
assistance to prevent a sickness that may result in absence from
- Employers: a reduction in sickness absence can
aid in organisational management, planning, productivity and
continuity, increased access to practical advice and guidance and
management time saved in finding practical solutions. These
measures contribute to supporting economic growth.
The Scottish Government welcomes the proposed new service.
However, there remains uncertainty regarding the model and process
of delivering it in Scotland. There are ongoing discussions with
the DWP regarding the Scottish preference for delivering the
service through the public sector.
With the form of the Health and Work Service to be determined in
Scotland, existing potential service providers in the field of
occupational health and wellbeing include: