We sat down with Freudenberg Sealing Technologies Limited in North Shields to discuss how they looked at and worked on sickeness absence levels.

Freudenberg is the Global Lead Centre for Oil Seals (Damper & Steering) within the Freudenberg Sealing Technologies division and have been established at this site for many years but have been a prominent name in the manufacturing industry in the North East since 1788. 

The average sickness absence levels sit at just over 3%.  Whilst this is well below average for manufacturing organisations, the organisation had a further target to reduce this by at least 10%! 

Freudenberg have lots of good policies and practices already in place in relation to sickness absence and already invest highly in health and wellbeing but thought, how do we improve this even further?

A sharing good practice was arranged to review best practices.  This initially was a ‘one off’ event to invite businesses from various sectors including public sector, private sector and other manufacturing organisations.   It was also a fantastic opportunity to promote the ‘Better Health at Work Award’ with the Lead Health Advocate offering information and support about the award and any specific health topics, campaigns or preventative measures.

The event was organised by the HR Team with involvement from Occupational Health and Employment Law experts.   The event was free of charge but designed to be highly participative and all attendees were expected to share their current practices within their organisations, success stories and those that weren’t successful in addition to ideas on the horizon.

Areas of interest and topics included:

  • Recruitment
  • Standard Setting
  • Absence recording and information
  • Absence Management Procedures
  • Sick Pay and Incentives
  • Occupational Health Support
  • Termination of Employment

There was a fantastic attendance on the day with 11 people from different organisation across the North East attending.

How did the event go?

The overall objective of the event was exceeded with Freudenberg and other North East organisations obtaining valuable information exchange, new ideas to think about and also some re-assurance that companies had some good practices in place all ready and of course Better Health at Work Award promotion!

The feedback from the event was great and the attendees noted how useful the event had been.  A network group was formed to share further information and there was keen interest from the group to arrange further events on other topics.

What came next?           

Following the successful event, Freudenberg have gone on to undertake further projects in relation to absence management including a Lean Six Sigma project to improve processes.  Further best practice events are also going to be arranged.

Dianne Scott is an HR Advisor and also Lead Health Advocate for Better Health at Work Award.  Freudenberg Sealing Technologies Ltd are currently working towards ‘Continuing Excellence’ and continue to strive to improve sickness levels and health management.

Freudenberg have been part of the Better Health at Work Award for a number of years now and have had excellent, continued support throughout each stage of the award from Maureen Turner, workplace health improvement specialist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who supports businesses in North Tyneside to achieve the award.  We look forward to continuing to work with Maureen during the next level of award.

For more information about the Better Health at Work award visit http://www.betterhealthatworkne.org/

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