In the past three years (2017-2020), the total number of mental health cases reported by manufacturers in the UK has increased dramatically by 39% compared to 2014-2017, and the number of working days lost to mental health issues has almost doubled, according to UK’s Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) 2020 annual statistics.
Mental health is an ever more pertinent topic and one that must be at the forefront of all responsible employers’ minds. If left unaddressed mental health issues can lead to high value claims and significant reductions in working days and workforce continuity.
There are diverse and differing types of mental health issues and it can be particularly difficult to spot early indicators if employees are working remotely. There is a multitude of guidance available on how to prevent and react to mental health challenges. One common factor is that open communication is key in identifying concerns and enabling the employer to offer appropriate support. The sooner support can be provided the better. As such, it is important to create an environment where employees feel able to be open and honest about how they are feeling. Internal processes should be flexible and bespoke to the individual requirements of roles and employees.
Where employers fail to act upon a problem which they have been made aware of, the likelihood of a successful employers’ liability claim increases. Many organisations supplement normal mental health management processes with an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that provides enhanced benefits to employees. These programmes often include physical and mental health assessment tools designed to identify early warning signs, through to confidential counselling services.
The assignment of mental health champions within work forces can also act as a conduit with management teams allowing for the early identification of those suffering from stress or other mental health related conditions so that support can be provided before more widespread and longer lasting damage is caused.
As part of a series, Lockton’s Claims and Risk Management experts discuss this and other key themes in the document available below for download.