The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is behind a new campaign to offer improved occupational health assistance to the 2 million employees that fall ill because of work, every year.
Together with unionlearn, the TUC is publishing a new guide to occupational health for union safety reps with the aim of training 15,000 of them to find better ways for making business a healthier place to work.
The TUC workbook says that apart from the huge personal cost to individuals when they become ill as a result of their work, 175 million working days were lost as a result of sickness absence in 2006, costing firms £650 per poorly employee.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Workplaces where there are union safety reps tend to be both safer and healthier places. But the UK is currently facing an epidemic of occupational ill health. Many people are ill and in pain as a result of lifting injuries, slips and trips, stress and noise-induced hearing loss suffered either at, or caused by, their work.
“Using this workbook, union reps can learn about all the aspects of occupational health. Then they can use it to encourage their employers to do much more to make employees feel they are getting a decent level of support from work when they are ill and again when they are on the road towards a full recovery.”