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British Safety Council pleas for businesses to better employee wellbeing

By Rebecca Hitchon | 27 June 2022 | News

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With World Wellbeing Week taking place from 27 June to 1 July 2022, the chairman of British Safety Council, Peter McGettrick, has called for employers to make the wellbeing of their staff as important as their health and safety.

His plea comes as findings of a June 2022 survey conducted by British Safety Council show that 32% of people believe their employer is ‘not particularly committed’ or ‘not at all committed’ to their wellbeing, with only 55% of respondents’ workplaces having an integrated health, safety and wellbeing strategy.

42% of those surveyed commented that their employer is ‘committed, but could do more’, and just 26% said that their employer is ‘very committed’ to people’s wellbeing.

The poll also found that the cost of living pressure is the biggest issue affecting people’s wellbeing following the Covid pandemic, according to 59% of respondents, with workload pressures (17% of respondents), effects of staff shortages (13%) and a hybrid work-life balance (11%) also impacting wellbeing.

“As we emerge from more than two years of the pandemic, I believe we have a duty to make people’s wellbeing as much a priority as we do preventing them being injured or made ill through their work,” comments Peter McGettrick.

“What do we mean by ‘wellbeing’? We mean that the skills, talents, individuality, and contribution of every employee should be at the heart of any successful business. That way, people can truly thrive, both in and outside of work.”

British Safety Council has recently launched its Keep Thriving campaign, calling on employers, government and wider society to come together to improve people’s wellbeing.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Peter McGettrick and Wendy Chamberlain

Peter adds: “We believe that employers should adopt a holistic approach to health, safety and wellbeing, as they affect each other. When people are stressed or suffer poor mental health, they are much more likely to have accidents or injure themselves. Likewise, someone who is unwell or recovering from something can often find their wellbeing suffers as a result.”

The chairman addressed MPs and peers in the House of Commons at an event to launch the campaign. Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on work and pensions, and Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow minister for mental health, both backed the campaign.

“Wellbeing is absolutely vital for workers and businesses,” said Wendy Chamberlain MP. “Following Covid, looking at people’s wellbeing is going to be really important not only for organisations but governments, economies and countries.”

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP added: “Campaigns like Keep Thriving not only help break down the stigma of mental illness in the workplace, but show employers how a few simple changes can really benefit the wellbeing of their employees.

“Mental illness can affect us all, and studies show that for every £1 invested by employers in workplace mental health initiatives, they get £5 in return.”

Businesses are encouraged to get involved with the Keep Thriving Campaign, committing to:

  • Appointing an executive director responsible for wellbeing.
  • Actively engaging employees in determining workplace wellbeing interventions that work for them.
  • Adopting a holistic approach to health, safety and wellbeing, focused on training to enable prevention of poor wellbeing.

British Safety Council also runs the Being Well Together programme, offering businesses training, audits, consultancy and advice across all aspects of wellbeing.