Companies that employ staff suffering from ongoing health issues can often be unsure how best to support them, so let’s take a look at the challenges they present.

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Musculoskeletal problems cover a wide variety of conditions, including osteoporosis and arthritis, and can cause severe pain and discomfort. When the pain is so severe that it affects a person’s ability to carry out their work, this can be a great cause of concern and worry to both the sufferer and their employer.

Ageing population

Throughout the world, people are living longer and the birth rate is getting smaller. Combined with a change in the compulsory age of retirement and an increase in the eligible age for a state pension, this has resulted in an older workforce; however, ageism is still an issue in the workplace.

Claims

The UK is the worst country for disability claims and it is thought that musculoskeletal health and mental health are the main causes.

Attitudes to older workers and workers with ongoing health issues need to change and medical professionals should feel able to encourage their patients back to work if they think they are ready. Employers are often reluctant to allow employers back into the workplace for fear of a claim being made against them, which is where policymakers and occupational health Bristol can support change.

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Support

Employers should make sure they are aware of any issue their staff are facing and offer a flexible approach that makes the employee feel valued and supported and minimises any negative effects on the business. Investment in occupational health Bristol can help prevent long spells of absence, as can initiatives such as increasing the number of breaks, accommodating a change in working hours, and buying specialist equipment.

Prevention

There are many causes of the health problems that are affecting workers, especially older workers, including obesity and poor fitness. Other factors can include sitting in a poor-quality chair and bad posture. Psychological factors affecting the health of workers include depression, stress and anxiety, and financial pressures.

Whilst some of these factors can be corrected, such as better office furniture, others cannot. Although employers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of staff wellbeing, there is yet to be any evidence that employer incentives in these areas have brought about any significant change.