Lord McKenzie, Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions, has called on employers to play their part in aiding social inclusion for disabled people.
Speaking at a RNIB conference in London, Lord McKenzie stressed that employers have been urged to assist in the social inclusion of disabled people, by going further than taking measures to prevent ill-health and injury in the workplace, and pro-actively promoting staff health, for example, by providing healthy canteen food. Best practice dictates the retention of staff with health problems and impairments, with reasonable adjustments where necessary. Lord McKenzie stated that:-
"Just as important as getting disabled people into work, is keeping people in work and preventing them from falling out of work in the first place. Retention and rehabilitation are two of the main aims of the Government’s Health, Work and Well-being strategy. The strategy recognises that there is a lot that central government can do. But it also recognises that success requires the support, involvement and commitment of a wide range of stakeholders working together.
"Most importantly though, we want them to develop supportive cultures that allow staff with health problems and impairments to work, making the necessary adjustments to help them do so. Mostly these adjustments will be neither as difficult nor as expensive as people think. But clearly we have an important job ahead to engage, educate and support employers.
"Employers are particularly important. We would like to see them play their part in a number of ways. First we want them to seek to prevent ill-health or injury from occurring in the workplace. This is about sensible risk management and often involves only simple changes to working practices – for example, eye protection for employees. But we’d like to see employers go further and use the workplace as a way of improving general staff health – for example, improvements such as workplace gyms or healthy food in canteens".