Workers unwilling to inform their employer about health concerns

The majority of UK workers would rather keep a health concern or personal issue to themselves than tell their boss or colleagues, according to new research by Aviva UK Health.

The study questioned 1004 employees and found that only 4 percent would approach their boss with a health concern and a further 5 percent said they might confide in a colleague. By contrast nearly two thirds of those questioned said they would talk about the issue with their partner.

Nearly a quarter of employees stated that they would rather suffer in silence in order to safeguard their privacy, and 21 percent admitted to thinking that health concerns could affect their work prospects.

The survey also questioned 204 key decision makers from a variety of SMEs and found that 39 per cent claim to make a point of identifying employee issues. A similar percentage said they operate an open door policy.

“The breakdown in communication between employers and their staff means that health risks such as stress in the workplace are not being effectively managed. Lack of employee engagement will also hinder an employer’s ability to intervene early and offer their employees the right support at the right time.

Amongst other things a positive safety culture mean that safety is discussed openly and transparently, although largely in a way that is controlled by having the appropriate infrastructure in position. It is up to management to ensue that tools such as safety committees function openly and efficiently and also that a system of line management responsibility for safety exists throughout the organisation and is acknowledged by all concerned.

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posted on September 20, 2010
in In the News
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