The impact of staff absence is considerable, with the 180 million sick days costing employers about £16.8bn in 2009, plus indirect costs like reductions in customer service and delays to teamwork.

Unfortunately, so-called "sickies" remain a problem. The senior HR staff surveyed at 241 public and private-sector organisations estimated that around 15%, or 27 million sick days weren't genuine, and cost the country £2.5bn a year.

The survey also shows that larger organisations had higher rates of absence than small ones, and that firms have increased their use of structured rehabilitation plans to help people with longer-term illnesses back to work.



IOSH – The Institution of Occupational Safety & Health

World’s biggest professional health and safety organisation with 33,000 members worldwide. An independent, not-for-profit organisation that sets professional standards supports and develops members and provides authoritative advice and guidance on health and safety issues.


The OSH research database (the only one of its kind in the UK) is part of a long-term initiative to help members and others find information on health and safety at work and related issues. This free database offers a focused, dedicated resource to help with work, study and professional development.



NHS – Choices

Huge website packed with information on medical advice, finding hospitals and services, health education, medicine guides, vaccination advice, access to healthcare abroad, information prescriptions service, latest health news.


You can sign up for an email newsletter – a monthly email round up of tips on how you and your family can lead a healthier life.



A new TUC report reveals that more than 20,000 people in the UK are killed prematurely by their work every year.

The Case for Health and Safety smashes the myth that Britain is one of the safest places to work and demonstrates that health and safety at work is as relevant today as it has ever been.


TUC analysis of the most conservative official safety figures shows that at least 20,000 people - the equivalent of the entire population of the Orkney Islands - die early as a result of their work every year, through conditions such as occupational cancers and lung disorders, exposure to fumes and chemicals, and fatal traffic accidents.


The report finds that many workers are also injured during the course of their work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that 246,000 workplace injuries should have been reported last year but many accidents go unreported or are not reported correctly. The Case for Health and Safety reveals that 1.2 million working people in the UK believe they are suffering from a work-related illness. These illnesses include heart disease, stress, musculoskeletal disorders such as back, shoulder and neck pain, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.


The TUC report disputes claims, which have fed calls from business for regulations or 'red tape' to be reduced, that the workplace is now much safer than it has ever been. While the number of fatalities and injuries at work is falling, modern workplaces are different to those of the past, and employees’ still face dangerous hazards, diseases and illnesses at work, says the TUC.



HSE – Health and Safety Executive

National independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness. The Independent regulator who acts in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces. Provide information, publications and advice relating to legislation affecting employee health and wellbeing for organisations including guidance on Occupational Health.



Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Professional body for those involved in the management and development of people within organisations. Europe’s largest HR and development professional body. Globally recognized brand with over 135,000 members. The CIPD aim is to drive sustained organization performance through HR, shaping thinking, leading practice and building capability within the profession.


Huge range of information, research, fact sheets, on employment law, diversity and equality, learning, training and development, corporate and HR strategy and more.



Department of Health (DOH)

Mental Health and Wellbeing


At any one time around one adult in six is experiencing symptoms of mental illness and one in four will experience mental illness during their lifetime. Mental illness is the largest single cause of disability in our society and costs the English economy at least £77 billion a year.

Policy around mental health is developing, in line with the Coalition Government’s emphasis on identifying what actually happens to the health of the patient - the outcome - as a result of the treatment and care they receive, as well as giving major importance to the voice of patients and service users, and handing GPs a central commissioning role.


A consensus has emerged recently around broadening the focus of mental health from improving services to include public mental health and mental well-being. Mental health policy cannot be devised and implemented by any single government department or the NHS alone - it requires collaboration across central government, local government and the independent sector.

Occupational Health Further Reading/Case Studies

CBI – Confederation of British Industry

Absence Survey 2010 - Absence costs UK economy £17 billion – CBI/PFIZER Survey

27 Million Working Days Lost Due To “SICKIES”


Employees took 180 million sick days last year, averaging 6.4 days each, according to the latest CBI/Pfizer Absence and Workplace Health Survey. The rate of absence is the lowest since the survey began in 1987, and down slightly from 6.7 days per employee in 2007, the previous surveyed year. A small improvement in the public-sector absence rate helps explain the fall, but it remains significantly higher than the private-sector rate.

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