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Feel-good factor of a healthy workforce

New guidance from NICE recommends that employees’ health and wellbeing should be a core priority for senior managers. Occupational health nurses on building sites and oil rigs are encouraging the mainly male staff to take up healthier diets and exercise and quit smoking.

Improving the health and wellbeing of employees leads to a happier and more productive workforce, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

But the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that 28.2 million days were lost to work-related illness and injury in the UK in 2013/14, costing society an estimated £14.2 billion.

In June NICE launched new guidance on workplace policy and management practices. This recommends that health and wellbeing should be a core priority for every organisation’s senior managers. Alongside the physical environment, there is particular emphasis on mental health. Other recommendations focus on fairness, participation and trust, training of line managers, and job design.

For occupational health nurse Allison Rose, the focus on prevention is welcome. ‘I’m delighted to hear the direction NICE is taking in these guidelines,’ says Ms Rose, who is employed by Duradiamond Healthcare,

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