The law requires steps to be taken to prevent or adequately control health risks. Helping workers tackle drug misuse or ‘wellbeing issues’ like alcohol, smoking or blood pressure is not a substitute for this. The section on health surveillance clarifies the differences between your responsibilities under health and safety legislation and the additional steps you may choose to take in relation to industry best practice / well-being.
As an employer you will also have an interest in making sure any sickness absence is minimised. Presenteeism and so the thought that you must go to work even if you are not well may also be an issue. These rates are often higher than sickness absence rates. A fitter, healthier, happier workforce can impact positively on productivity and prosperity. Society also benefits from a workforce concentrating on better health for themselves. In difficult economic times, safeguarding the health of the working age population becomes even more critical.
These issues are being taken forward by other government departments. The Department of Health has launched the Public Health Responsibility Deal.