HEATHROW MEDICAL – Occupational Health Services are now gaining business skills such as cost-benefit analysis (CBA), which can be used to sell OH services or gain funding for changes or expansion. The main goal of most companies is to increase profits, then it would be logical to say the best way to encourage companies to utilize Occupational Health services to their fullest, is to make it financially attractive. Companies are affected by increased cost including employers’ liability insurance premiums, sick absence and claims on pension funds for early retirement due to ill-health. The occupational health departments will increasingly be measured in the same way as any other department within the organisation and will have to demonstrate the quality of the service it provides.
With regards to sickness absence management, I would like to give example of how appropriate return to work strategy can save companies substantial costs, whilst increasing a good company reputation. Looking at monthly sickness rates over a variety of industries, it became apparent that there are vast variations. Results suggested from 2% to over 10% giving an average of 6%. So to use occupational health services to reduce sickness absence by a percentage or two can be very cost affective.
Direct costs are not easily quantifiable as they relate to many factors including out-goings for sick pay and the overheads associated with organising temporary cover and overtime payments to name a few. These expenses are just the tip of the iceberg as they do not take into account management time in arranging this cover nor the effect of reduced productivity. These indirect costs are likely to be higher than the direct outlay. Occupational Health Services have a lot to offer employers, and Occupational Health Advisors can have a vital important role here. Although management own the problem, Occupational Health practitioners have an appreciation of the many factors underpinning both work and non-work-related ill-health. To be most effective, the Occupational Health Advisor should be proactive and have positive influence in resolving an individual’s ill-health in relation to work.