United Kingdom — Northumbrian Water Group ‘Wellbeing Programme’


Northumbrian Water Group Limited (NWL) supplies and manages waste water systems. Of the total workforce, 30 % is over 50 years old. - Sickness absence due to musculoskeletal disorders and stress costs GBP 1 million annually. NWL’s ‘Wellbeing Programme’ aims to prevent health problems before they become chronic. From 2006, line managers were trained to identify employee issues, have appropriate discussions and make referrals to services available to employees under the Wellbeing Programme. . Since 2008, RehabWorks has provided early intervention physiotherapy for employees, whether self- or manager-referred. Recommendations are sent to the employer and a report is sent to the worker’s general pratitioner. Stress reduction has been a focus of the organisation since 2010, with line managers trained to manage sensitive situations. In addition, confidential counselling is provided to employees/families where needed. Musculoskeletal disorder-related sickness absence has reduced by 40 % and stress-related sickness absence has reduced by 13%. Management have reported that there is better employee engagement. Success factors include, involvement of different stakeholders in the organisation, including the human resources department, trade union representatives, line managers, and workers, external supports and the diversity of measures. The processes are transferable, particularly where employee assistance programmes exist.

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