Health and well-being of working age people
ESRC Seminar Series
Mapping the public policy landscape
These two seminars on the health and well-being of working age people are organised by the Economic and
Social Research Council (ESRC), the Department of Health (DH), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).The first seminar explores this topic from the employers’ perspective
while the second addresses the issues involved from the viewpoint of employees.
In a modern world where rising dependency ratios and global market forces place an ever-greater burden on those
of working age in supporting others, their health is becoming of increasing importance for Government policymaking.
As the balance of the economy continues to shift from manufacturing towards service provision, the type of risks workers
face, the hazards they are exposed to, and the injuries people sustain as a result of employment will continue to change.
Acute and accidental injury is less common now in many industries as a result of increased hazard identification and
prevention, while chronic ill heath such as musculoskeletal disorders and stress are more commonly reported.
But it is not just the nature of ill health in the workplace which has changed. Rather the whole terrain of occupational
health is transforming.The traditional indicators that measure ill health in the workplace rather than well-being are no
longer satisfactory. Concentration on problems such as absenteeism and accidental injury is giving way to a broader
vision of what a healthier and happier and more productive workforce can achieve in terms of higher performance
Of course, ensuring the safety and security of the UK’s workers remains of paramount importance. But, in tandem
with these bedrocks of occupational health, we are now eyeing a future in which all working age people have the
opportunity to make the optimum contribution to their organisations while enjoying a safer, more satisfying and