Bid to improve health at work

The government intends to increase access to occupational health services in work but will not pressurise private sector employers to increase provision.

The new joint strategy by the health, and work and pensions departments is designed to support the government’s drive to cut workplace absence and move people on incapacity benefit into work.

It aims to improve the health of working-age people, stating that just 3 per cent of employees have access to comprehensive occupational health services, a figure the government wants to see increase.

But the private sector will not face any new rules. The government will seek to identify incentives for employers to increase provision of trained occupational health personnel and develop national standards.

Disability and mental health charities have raised concerns about the government’s emphasis on compulsion for employees and benefit claimants and persuasion for employers in its plans.

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