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Workforce physical wellbeing under the spotlight at Aberdeen business breakfast


Assessing the physical ability of the workforce is to be the main focus of a business event held in Aberdeen next week. 

Professor Val MaehleA business breakfast and complex case workshop is being hosted by RGU:Wellness, a unique occupational health service for workplace absence management, on Wednesday, August 26 to look at ways of objectively evaluating employee wellbeing to help maintain a healthy workforce.

The free event, which is taking place at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Faculty of Health and Social Care, will focus on ‘evaluating the functional capacity’ of employees, addressing effective ways to minimise work related injuries, promote wellness among the workforce and support return to work following ill health or injury.

Professor Val Maehle, Director of RGU:Wellness, explains: “The current economic climate in Aberdeen and the aging North Sea workforce in particular is adding to the pressures put on individuals and organisations to perform to the highest standard, without costly delays, injuries, stoppages or absence.

“Also at this time of employment uncertainty for many, the reluctance of colleagues to take time off work due to illness can lead to an increase in ‘presenteeism’ where employees continue to work when unwell and not fit for the job. A 2014 CIPD survey report on absence management found that in organisations experiencing redundancies, it is twice as likely to see an increase in people coming to work while ill.

“Additionally, as some companies implement changes to make cost efficiencies such as an equal time shift rotation, employers may see an increase in stress and ill health of their workforce as they adjust to the transition.”

The business breakfast and complex case workshop, which is the first in a series of ‘Protecting Your Skilled Workforce’ events run by RGU:Wellness, will include an overview of the range of performance based assessments available which can be tailored to determine an employee's physical capabilities to safely meet specific work demands.

Professor Maehle continues: “Having robust ways to measure employee fitness to work helps companies to support and protect their skilled workforce, prevent absence occurring or enable a quick return to work following ill health or injury, avoiding reduced productivity and potentially costly delays.

“With a UK national yearly bill of around £9billion for sick pay and associated costs, sickness absence from work is an increasingly important issue for employers in all sectors and highlights the need to have a good insight into the wellbeing of employees to prevent costly absences where possible.”

This event also includes an interactive complex case workshop to help attendees contextualise the benefits of ‘Functional Capacity Evaluation’ (FCE) for their organisations, providing them with an opportunity to give their own examples of scenarios when they would have found it helpful to have a more insightful assessment of a colleagues’ abilities.

Using these examples, RGU:Wellness’s academic and practitioner experts will explain how an FCE could help find solutions by delivering a more thorough test, insight and report of colleagues’ physical capabilities.

The morning will conclude with a tour of RGU:Wellness’s state-of-the-art FCE Laboratory and a demonstration of how the sector leading ‘Ergoscience  Physical Work Performance Evaluation’ (PWPE), which is used for the FCEs conducted by RGU:Wellness, tests the functional abilities of the person being evaluated.

Register for the business breakfast and complex case workshop which runs from 8am to 10am at RGU’s Garthdee campus

Release byAnna DuthieCommunications Officer