Health at Work

We know that work is good for our physical and mental health - it gives us a sense of identity, responsibility and a chance to form relationships with other people. It is important that we feel healthy, happy and safe at work. All employers have a responsibility to look after their staff.

Sickness Absence & Support

There are 2.2 million working days lost through ill health every year in Scotland.  This costs employers around £1.2 billion. Many of the causes of sickness absence can be prevented.

When employers support staff at an early stage they can prevent some health problems from getting worse which may mean staff don’t have to take time off. Support might include: reducing workload, changing the work environment or changing shift patterns. Making small changes to support a member of staff can reduce the pressure on them and help them feel valued.

Some people who have been off work ill may have a 'phased return' to work. This means they come back to work in stages - they might work less hours or only do certain types of work to begin with. Usually people who have health problems, like back pain, stress, depression and high blood pressure find that going back to work helps them to get better.

Increased Productivity

There are ethical and legal reasons why employers should support their employees' health at work, but there are also good business reasons. Healthier employees are more productive. Employers who do things to promote their employees' health at work have been shown to improve productivity levels in their organisations.


What is Healthy Working Lives?

Healthy Working Lives” is an Award Programme for businesses in Scotland. Businesses can get an award by making healthy changes for their business and staff.

There are three levels of award - Bronze, Silver & Gold - with different tasks and requirements to complete each level.

What are the benefits of taking part?

Taking part can make your workplace and staff safer, happier and healthier. It creates a framework to make health, safety and wellbeing a priority and supports you in writing policies and developing actions for health in your workplace.

The activities you complete to achieve the award can make your business a better place to work. Healthier workplaces form a part of a healthier Shetland community.

Over time you may reduce the number of accidents at work and the number of sick days taken by your staff.

What have local businesses done?

Here are some examples of what local businesses have done to achieve their Healthy Working Lives awards:

  • Signed up to a mental health anti-stigma newsletter
  • Borrowed resources from Health Improvement to promote healthy eating, smoking cessation and staying hydrated
  • Taken part in the Step Count Challenge, the Mind Your Head fun run or signing up to the 'World Walking' website
  • Created opportunities for healthy eating at work
  • Got together as a team to try new physical activity options after work
  • Written new workplace policies

How do I sign up my business for a Healthy Working Lives Award?

What other support can you offer my business?

We can also offer support to your business and your staff by:

  • Helping to write policies
  • Doing health checks for your staff
  • Arranging a visit from a Health & Safety Specialist
  • Visiting your organisation to talk about being healthy
  • Lending resources and information about staying healthy
  • Offering training courses

What support can I access at work?

If you have any concerns about your health at work you should speak to your manager.

SIC staff have access to a Staff Welfare Officer, Wendy Borrill. SIC employees can self refer to this service.

NHS Shetland has an Occupational Health Service. This service is available to all NHS Shetland employees. Employees of other organisations may also be able to access this service - check with your manager to see if this applies to you. See this leaflet for more information.

What types of training courses do you offer?

We offer a range of training courses which may support your business & staff, see our Training and News and Events for more information.