Northumbrian Water awarded for tackling sickness absence

Northumbrian Water has won Business in the Community’s (BITC) Workwell award for its programmes to address sickness absence among its 3,000 employees.

The programmes include RehabWorks, which was introduced in April 2008 to address sickness absence due to musculoskeletal disorders, and NWLSupport, which was introduced in April 2010 to address sickness absence due to stress or mental health issues.

So far, 1,871 staff have been referred to the rehabilitation services resulting in a 40% drop in overall sickness absence due to musculoskeletal disorders and a 13% drop in stress-related absence.

Heidi Mottram, chief executive officer at Northumbrian Water Group, said: “Our organisation’s performance is directly dependant on our people and so helping to prevent, rather than just cure, their health problems is at the heart of our health and wellbeing strategy.”

Irwin Lee, managing director, UK and Ireland at Proctor and Gamble UK and chair of the Workwell Leadership team, added: “Northumbrian Water has created a strategic, holistic and mature programme, which has resulted in a positive impact to its employees, business and in particular on customer service.”

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Also recognised at the BITC’s annual responsible business awards were:

  • WM Morrison’s Supermarkets – winner of the workplace talent and skills award for its commitment to training and developing 100,000 staff last year to receive qualifications, and its 95% internal promotion ratio for store managers.
  • City College Norwich – highly commended in the workwell category for a programme which has halved long-term sickness, cut lost days per employee by nearly three days and saved the college nearly £500,000 last year.

Read more articles on health and wellbeing in the workplace