A New Emphasis on Health

There has been renewed emphasis on health in the workplace due in considerable part to findings from the recent consultation “Work, health and disability green paper: improving lives”. This important consultation supports a case for action with regard to the workplace through; tackling significant inequality, supporting people into work, supporting healthy workplaces, supporting employment and more. It revealed several findings about the workplace as well as what needs to be done to make this a better, more productive environment for employees.

BIA UK’s Efforts in the Workplace

BIA UK’s emphasis is on keeping employees in work and helping them return to work more quickly through the aid of occupational physiotherapy. We see outstanding results and have reached a return on investment value of up to 11:1 through our efforts.

We support the consultation results fully and are excited to see what change is incited as a result of the findings.

The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper

Below, we cover some salient points from the paper and explain how the findings relate to the type of work we do at BIA UK.

  • “Evidence shows that appropriate work is good for our health” At BIA UK we see on a daily basis the improved mental and physical health of employees that have returned to or stayed in work as opposed to going off sick
  • “Reducing long term sickness absence is a priority – 1.8 million employees on average have a long-term sickness absence of 4 weeks or more in a year” BIA UK operates to keep employees in work and reduce considerable long term absence. For one of our clients we reduced the mean musculoskeletal absence length from 17 days to 3 days. Review the case study here.
  • “Access to timely treatment varies across areas; Average waiting times for mental health treatment can differ by as much as 12 weeks across England and some evidence suggests treatment for musculoskeletal conditions can differ by as much as 23 weeks” This is one of the key benefits of inhouse physiotherapy in treating musculoskeletal issues. Employees can get treated faster and at their place of work, lessening time away from work with sickness and also travel time spent going offsite for physiotherapy treatment
  • “Almost 1 in 3 working-age people in the UK have a long-term health condition which puts their participation in work at risk” Musculoskeletal issues affect high numbers of employees – an estimated 9.5million working days were lost in 2014/15 due to such ailments
  • “Over half (54%) of all disabled people who are out of work experience mental health and/or musculoskeletal conditions as their main health condition” Musculoskeletal conditions were the second highest cause of short term absence according to the 2015 Absence Management report from the CIPD

Other Findings and Conclusions

The paper goes on to say:

“There is a lack of practical support to help people stay connected to work and get back to work. This has to change.”

It also includes the following from its list of “wants”:

“We want to: help employers take action to create a workforce that reflects society as a whole and where employers are equipped to take a long-term view on the skills and capability of their workforce, managing an ageing workforce and increased chronic conditions to keep people in work, rather than reacting only when they lose employees.

We want to: ensure people are able to access the right employment and health services, at the right time and in a way which is personalised to their circumstances and integrated around their needs.”


We have been champions of keeping employees in work and delivering treatment for musculoskeletal illnesses for many years. It’s fantastic to see the government delivering more evidence to support the valuable work we do to improve workplace health in the UK.

We finish with a positive quote we enjoyed from the paper: “Let’s ensure everyone has the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them – for a healthier, working nation.”

To find out more about our occupational physiotherapy service and how this can work to reduce absenteeism, presenteeism and save hours you can try our ROI calculator here.