Free 'Health for Work Adviceline' for small businesses

Published:  10 March, 2010

UK: Small businesses in the construction industry now have free access to professional occupational health advice to help with individual employee health issues - just by calling a 'Health for Work Adviceline'.

The UK construction industry employs more than two million people in over 250 000 organisations, 99% of which are small to medium-sized enterprises.

A recent Government report identified a need to provide employers, particularly those in small firms with up to 250 people, with easy access to advice on workplace health issues. The new adviceline addresses this by helping small businesses to quickly and effectively address the issue of employee ill health, minimise the impact of staff illness and provide essential support to staff with physical or mental health issues who want to stay at work or return after a period of sickness absence.

While accident rates in the construction industry continue to fall year-on-year, occupational ill health is estimated to be responsible for a loss of 1.8 million working days. Common ill health problems in the industry include back pain, skin and breathing difficulties, problems caused by noise or vibration, and mental ill health issues such as anxiety or depression.

The adviceline, delivered by NHS Plus, will run until 31 March 2011.

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