Every year, the HSE publishes statistics relating to work-related ill health, non-fatal workplace injuries and enforcement action taken by the HSE. In this article, we discuss the report’s findings and how Cardinus can help businesses protect their workforce.

HSE report findings

In the 2020/21 period, 1.7 million workers suffered from a work-related illness (new or long-standing), around half of which were stress, depression or anxiety (800,000 workers). Another 28% (or 500,000) suffered from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and 22% (400,000) had another type of illness.

Graph to show the different work related illnesses

The cost of work related illnesses

With approx. 32.5 million people employed in the UK, this means 5.23% of the working population suffered from a work-related illness in the last year.

It is estimated that the total economic cost of sickness absence, lost productivity through worklessness, informal caregiving and health-related productivity losses, also known as presenteeism, equates to over £100bn annually.

Not only are work-related health issues bad for business, but they are bad for morale. Studies show work-related illnesses including stress lead to higher employee turnover and less engagement in the workplace.

Common work-related illnesses and how to prevent them

Employers have both a legal and moral duty to protect their workers from health issues in the workplace. So, what can you do to reduce the likelihood of harm coming to your workforce, and how can Cardinus help?

Musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are physical conditions which can arise from either bad posture whilst working at a desk/computer workstation or poor manual handling techniques.

It is important for employers to implement robust risk assessments for both in-office workers and homeworkers, as well as provide DSE training in order to limit the risk workers can do to themselves whilst working at a desk or operating machinery.

To help prevent workplace injury from workstations, Cardinus has developed a software platform called Healthy Working, which provides training and risk assessments to manage the risks associated with working in an office, at home, or a combination of both (hybrid working).

Manual handling injuries

Manual handling refers to any task that requires an individual to use their body to move or operate something. Whilst more common in more physical roles, manual handling isn’t exclusive to manual work, as office jobs can also involve occasional manual handling tasks, such as lifting boxes, carrying heavy papers or books, and even typing.

In both cases, employers must be proactive when it comes to training staff on the risks associated with both frequent and infrequent manual handling and instructing them how to approach such tasks safely.

The Cardinus To protect office and home workers from manual handling injuries, Cardinus has training software providing the key information for those who carry out little or infrequent manual handling.

For workers where manual handling is a core part of their role, Cardinus can carry out a manual handling assessment for the task, the environment and the individual and then provide on-site face-to-face training to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Poor mental health

Stress, anxiety and depression are known as mental health issues, which can also manifest as physical conditions. Poor mental health can be triggered by all kinds of events or situations, but with people spending most of their waking hours at work, mental health is an important factor to consider when evaluating workplace wellbeing.

Often, poor mental health at work begins with prolonged stress, which can present itself as physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, chest pain, and stomach issues. If left unmanaged, stress can lead to burnout, or even anxiety and depression. The risks of these mental health problems can be severe if they are left to spiral.

Encouraging employees to take regular breaks to relieve stress and having systems in place to support with poor mental health is vital to prevent workplace mental health issues.

Cardinus offers two online courses to support with workplace mental health – personal wellbeing, which provides training on how to look after oneself, and mental health awareness, which provides training and information on being aware of symptoms, sign-posting to appropriate medical and psychological help, and guidance on how to support your colleagues.

Furthermore, we can provide wellbeing webinars bespoke to your organisation, targeting the issues that matter to your staff.

Find out more

If you would like to know more about how we can help your organisation to manage work related illnesses, please contact us.

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