Work, health and well-being research

Newsletter articles

1 Sep 2011

Employment Studies Issue 13

Jim Hillage, Director of Research

The Institute is evaluating a number of the recent health- and work-related initiatives for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), including:

  • the evaluation of the pilot of the Occupational Helpline for small employers in areas of England and Wales, and the whole of Scotland, which is being piloted between December 2009 until April 2011
  • in conjunction with the University of Liverpool, the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of York, National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), and GfK NOP, IES is evaluating the Fit for Work Service pilots, which are designed to help employees avoid or return quicker from, long-term sickness absence
  • also, the Institute has, in partnership with the University of Liverpool, been commissioned to take part in evaluation of the new Fit Note, which in April 2010 replaced the old medical statement certifying sickness absence. Our element of the overall evaluation will assess whether the new system has an impact on the speed and sustainability of employees’ return to work after a period of sickness absence.

On the international front:

  • the Institute has recently been appointed to provide evaluation services to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s (EU-OSHA). Our first project under the framework involves a mid-term evaluation of the Agency’s Strategy 2009-2014 that will focus on its initial outputs and implementation stage.

Current and recent projects for the Health and Safety Executive include:

  • exploring the impact of task-focused working arrangements on health and safety and specifically whether the way work is organised (eg on a task and finish, or piecework basis) introduces barriers to good health and safety practice and increases the risks of injury and ill health among workers
  • evaluating its training initiatives for employee health and safety representatives. This involves a number of training courses on health and safety for newly-appointed health and safety representatives.
  • evaluating an initiative to increase worker involvement in health and safety, by means of running targeted courses for health and safety representatives and their managers, with a focus on improving joint working
  • evaluating a programme of visits by Health and Safety Awareness Officers to promote better risk awareness and management of risks related to slips and trips within organisations where a slip or trip accident has been reported (slips and trips are a major cause of work-related accidents and injury).

We have also been commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) to:

  • conduct a review of the occupational health provision during the construction phase of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • map out the various approaches to worker involvement and leadership across the Olympic Park with a view to understanding their impact on health and safety practices and performance.

For more information on this work, please contact Jim Hillage at IES.