26 May, 2024

Take cover

01 December, 2015

Regardless of which profession people work in it is reasonable to assume that they will take the odd sick day off each year – although, as one might expect, figures are likely to vary depending on the sector in question. In the case of engineering, it may or may not come as a surprise to hear that over the past five years this sector has been ranked fifth among 25 different industries for the most days off sick with 21.29, in comparison to the national average UK of 15.27. More than 2 in 10 (21 per cent) engineering workers have sustained injury or become ill because of their job, which resulted in having to take time off work, according to a recent online study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of insurance company ‘There’, which surveyed 2000 employed and self-employed UK workers in different sectors. The engineering sector statistics were also found to be above the national average for sick days over a career (37.19 versus 34.97). Those who had been off for over a month stated that on average they were actually off for over three and a half months in total.

Despite this, only 8 per cent surveyed had some form of financial protection, covering loss of income against injury or illness. Some 50 per cent of those working in the engineering sector surveyed stated that their biggest worry when off work due to illness was the risk of losing work to competitors. Work piling up was also flagged by 50 per cent of engineers as a major implication of being off work sick. Philippa McLaglen, marketing manager from There, recently commented: “Each industry that we surveyed was unique, with different sectors worrying about different issues. Our research shows that those working in the engineering industry worry about being off sick, because they risk losing business to their rivals.”

Some 36 per cent stated that they dreaded having to tell their boss they were sick, while 44 per cent felt guilty about calling in sick. In addition, more than a quarter (27 per cent) didn’t take a sick day they needed because of pressure at work, while the same number admitted to making themselves sound sicker on the phone when speaking to their boss.

McLaglen added: “The research suggests that the risk of losing customers to competitors or returning to stockpiles of work is just too great to take time off sick. The worry about losing a customer or whole customer base is a common issue.” She also made the point that not being able to work can be debilitating, especially for those who do not have the correct protection in place to act as a financial safety net. “With financial protection, anything is better than nothing to pay the bills if you get injured and can’t do your job,” McLaglen said.

Even though a rigorous health & safety regime may be put in place the workplace can still, from time to time, stubbornly prove to be a rather precarious environment when it comes to injury. Therefore, it does seem to make a good deal of sense for people to at least take out a level of protection that is designed to pay out if they sustain an injury such as breaking a leg or arm resulting in them not being unable to do their job for a while. And in the lead-up to the festive season, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy – and safe – Christmas and New Year.

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