The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) has called for swift action to ensure that people in the UK have access to occupational health advice and assessment in the light of the Covid-19 crisis.

The SOM says that the crisis is providing an opportunity to positively influence the health and wellbeing of the working population and the prosperity of the UK.

According to the Society, only half the UK population has access to occupational health but there is a strong economic case to implement such access for all employers.

Occupational health services are key in supporting employees back to work and keeping them in work safely during these challenging times, the SOM says.

In addition, there is a particular need, according to the Society, to support small and medium enterprises and the self-employed to ensure there is a safe work environment, with a focus on mentally healthy workplaces.

Early research shows that many returning to work during the Covid-19 crisis will return with depleted mental health. In this regard, occupational health services have been proven to enable those on sick leave due to mental health problems to return to work successfully.

Preventative measures in place through the application of occupational hygiene is also said to be critical.

A source at the Society said, “By investing in occupational health, the Government can support employers to safeguard their workforce and manage risks.”

The Society is urging the Government to deliver on the Health is Everyone’s Business Consultation which ran up to October 2019.

The SOM is also encouraging its members and interested parties to write to their MPs using a suggested letter format as a basis.

In addition, a parliamentary question has been raised in support of the issue.

Last reviewed 30 June 2020