33% of the working age population said they have a long term health condition.
20% of the working age population report having a disability.
More people report having a long-term health condition than they did eight years ago. The number of people reporting a long-term health condition increased by nearly 2 m (17.0%) between 2013/14 and 2020/21.
The number of disabled people with a mental health condition as their main condition has increased by 850,000 (68.6%) between 2013/14 and 2020/21.
The increase in the number of people being classed as disabled has been greater for women,920,000 (24.4%), compared to men, 450,000 (14.4%) and younger people (aged 16 to 34), 770,000 (45.9%) compared to older people (aged 35 to 64), 590,000 (11.4%)
The HSE guidance is based on seven principles, which are supplemented with ‘talking toolkits’ intended to help employers and workers to start conversations that might be difficult but can help people stay in work or return to work after sickness absence.
The seven principles are:
1. Create a supportive and enabling workplace
Having the right culture to support and enable disabled workers and workers with long-term health conditions. Talking openly to them about any barriers they may face at work can help make sure employers are supporting them.
2. Take an inclusive approach to workplace health
Design inclusive workplaces and make sure workplace practices are accessible. Raise awareness to promote relevant policies and procedures.
3. Understand the work barriers that impact on workers
Talk to workers about obstacles they face at work (e.g. physical or organisational) and work with individuals to find a solution that helps them.
4. Make suitable workplace adjustments or modifications
Take steps to remove barriers or obstacles that people face to enable them to thrive and participate at work. Implement workplace adjustment ‘passports’ to make sure that adjustments stay in place when people move roles or change managers within the organisation.
5. Develop skills, knowledge and understanding
Train managers on how to support disabled people and those with long-term health conditions, training might include HR and health and safety policies and procedures, but also disability awareness.
6. Use effective and accessible communication
Make sure information is clear and concise and consider what formats people may need information in, for example large print/easy read or if assistive technology would help.
7. Support sickness absence and return to work
Early intervention reduces like likelihood of someone stopping work altogether, making contact during absence can help a person feel valued and maintains relationships. Consider if occupational health support is needed and whether a phased return to work would be beneficial.
If you need help with this or any other health and safety requirement our expert consultants are on hand to help.