Policies alone are not enough: Workplace health development in the public, private and voluntary sectors

Coffey, M and Dugdill, L 2006, 'Policies alone are not enough: Workplace health development in the public, private and voluntary sectors' , Critical Public Health, 16 (3) , pp. 233-243.

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A 2001 survey of public (n¼28), private (n¼113) and voluntary sector (n¼64) workplaces in Sefton, Merseyside indicated that there were significantly different levels of health-related policy provision across the three sectors, with the public sector having the highest level of provision (7.18 policies on average), followed by the voluntary (5.09 policies on average) and the private sector (3.94 policies on average). Policies already in place were mostly based around health and safety (89%), smoking (80%), sickness absenteeism (68%) and manual handling (49%). Workplaces reported that in order to benefit their employees’ health they wanted to improve: the physical work environment (38%); communications (31%); job content/organization (30%) and wage levels (29%). In addition, they wanted to develop stress management (51%) and familyfriendly (25%) policies. The major perceived barriers to implementing these policies were: lack of time/monetary resources (70%); not having the skills/expertise (37%); knowing which issues are priorities (25%); and knowing where to go to for help (17%). In order to achieve this, workplaces would like support in the form of: advice/information (63%); free health and safety checks (52%); training courses (49%) and monetary subsidies (49%). This study uniquely compares the public, private and voluntary sectors, highlighting that the sectors with the most health policies in place (public and voluntary) are also the sectors with the greatest number of reported difficulties, e.g. absenteeism, recruitment and retention. Recommendations from this study are that a ‘onesize- fits-all’ approach to health promotion would be inadequate to bring about changes in practice; that health promotion campaigns should focus on addressing the contextual difficulties, e.g. lack of resources, facing the voluntary and public sector, rather than on solely developing policy provision; and that information and advice for workplaces should be tailored to this end.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Critical Public Health
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0958-1596
Depositing User: Users 29196 not found.
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2010 11:30
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 22:14
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/3130

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