Working Well - Community

Workplace Health


Employment is a major determinant of health, it impacts both directly and indirectly on the health of not only the individual, but their family and wider community. Unemployment increases the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, and has been shown to adversely affect mental health. Health-related worklessness where an individual is not in employment for health reasons, is a major contributor to lost revenue and productivity for the economy.

Workplace health is not only managing the health of staff, but also promoting their wellbeing as well. Managing sickness absence and presenteeism (where a person physically turns up to work, but remains unproductive) are two important elements of workplace health, but equally important are the measures and initiatives put in place to encourage healthy and active employees.

A bad working environment, low levels of control, unfair organisational practices, and an imbalance of effort and reward, can contribute as much to poor health as good health can contribute to successful working.

Workplace Health

Hartlepool’s sickness absence rate saw 2.5% of working days lost in 2015/17. This is the 12th highest rate in England, and is more than twice the national average. However Hartlepool’s rate has gradually declined from 2.8% in 2012/14 to 2.5% in 2015/17.


Hartlepool’s rate has increased by 73.3% on its 2009-11 level, at the same time that the England average has decreased by 20%. In 2009-11 Hartlepool was at the same rate as the England average of 1.5%. This means that the gap between Hartlepool and the England average has increased from 0% in 2009-11 to 1.4% in 2014-16. Against the north east regional average the gap in 2009-11 was in Hartlepool’s favour, with the local rate 0.3% below the regional average. This has moved to being 1.1% higher than the north east average in 2014-16.


A similar pattern emerges when looking at employees who have had at least one day off in the previous week. Here Hartlepool’s rate was below both the England and north east averages in 2009-11 by 0.4%, but this had changed to a deficit for Hartlepool in 2014-16 of 1.0% against the north east and 1.1% against England.


Current Services 

To help combat the highlighted high long term sickness rates, Hartlepool workplaces are invited to participate in a unique partnership project in the North East known as the Better Health at Work Award ( BHAWA). This partnership approach was established in 2009 with local authorities, organisations and the BHAWA programme itself coordinated by the Northern TUC to take health and well-being into the workplace. Individuals benefit from a healthier environment and culture, increased access to health information and interventions where they wouldn’t normally. Workplace activity as part of the BHAWA has potentially saved lives on many occasions- identifying dangerously high cholesterol levels and early stage cancers. At the same time employers benefit from improved staff engagement, lower levels of absenteeism and increased productivity.

Future Intentions 

Workplace Health continues to be an integral part of Hartlepool’s Public Health Strategy. For Hartlepool it is even more relevant to continue this work due the current trends in Hartlepool of high sickness rates amongst its working age population in the current challenging economic times, when companies need to use every tool available to ensure productivity and competiveness.  The Better Health at Work Awards (BHAWA) will continue to recognise the efforts of local employers in addressing health issues within the workplace and help them move forward in a structured and supported way. Every employer / organisation who signs up to participate in the Award scheme will be supported by a dedicated Health Improvement Specialist.

Last year support to companies to participate in undertaking the award resulted in 15 participants,

2019 BHAWA Current Active Participants






Continuing Excellence   

Continuing Excellence Plus         

Maintaining Excellence










This work will continue, with the ambition to encourage more new companies in Hartlepool to join the scheme and support existing ones to work towards the next level of addressing health issues in the work place.