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New TUC guidance on well-being at work
With health and work being closely linked, the TUC has today (Thursday) published guidance on well-being at work.
The new TUC guidance – Work and well-being – sets out the importance of healthy workplaces and provides advice on how to handle specific issues such as smoking, obesity and stress.
Stress caused by heavy workloads and demanding work patterns continues to be a massive issue for workers around the UK, with more than 400,000 people suffering from work-related stress every year.
Many other problems such as obesity, diabetes, and increased alcohol and tobacco use can also be linked to an unhealthy working environment.
The TUC guide emphasises that healthy work must lie in prevention of injuries and illnesses, and changing the workplace through encouraging better working relationships, greater respect for workers, and improved involvement of unions.
It explains that many of the other initiatives that are seen as being part of a well-being programme – such as encouraging cycling or walking to work, supporting gym membership or exercise classes and promoting healthy eating – are important, and that union workplace representatives have a key role to play in encouraging management to provide them.
The guide also seeks to ensure that employers are supporting initiatives by Public Health England, Public Health Wales and Scottish Healthy Working Lives which are aimed at improving the health and well-being of workers.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Unions play a vital role in keeping people safe at work. Improving well-being in the workplace works best where unions and employers work together, but the government’s ill-conceived Trade Union Bill will make that more difficult by seeking to reduce the ability of unions to represent their members.
“Too many workers are still becoming ill through work and simply introducing “well-being programmes” is not a substitute for stopping workers becoming ill, by addressing issues such as long hours, stress , unsafe conditions and a lack of respect at work. All these must be seen as part of the well-being agenda.
“Employers have much to gain by improving conditions at work, as healthy, happy and motivated staff have a positive impact on productivity.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The TUC guidance is available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/1115_TUC_WellBeingF%20LO.pdf
- The Health and Safety Executive found that ill health through work cost the economy £14.3bn from 2013-2104 (www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/cost.htm) which equates to £39.1m a day or £16.3m an hour.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews
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