Occupational health action plan

A good occupational health action plan is not a mandatory form drawn up by the occupational health service provider. A good plan serves as a roadmap in daily work and states what you and the occupational health services will do in your company and how you will do it.

Analyse the current situation and your needs

The first step is to analyse the current situation in your company. You already have a lot of information on absences due to illness, disability pensions, the personnel’s age structure and employee turnover. The information obtained from the risk assessment, the workplace survey carried out by the occupational health team and the discussions held with them give you more insight into what kind of occupational health activities best serve your workplace’s needs. 

Allocate enough time for analysing the current situation and for identifying the main work ability risks and development areas.

Set practical and measurable targets

Next, you and the occupational health services will agree on a few main targets for the occupational health collaboration. Also agree which means you will use to achieve the targets.

The occupational health services must clearly state which of the activities are statutory, i.e. mandatory, and which are voluntary, additional services. That creates a framework for planning the activities.

The common targets must be concrete and measurable. “Deepening occupational health collaboration” or “Supporting the well-being of employees” are too vague. They are difficult to grab hold of, and even more difficult to monitor. It is a good idea to limit the number of targets to just a few and focus on them. That also makes it more likely that they will be achieved. New targets can be added when updating the action plan.

Creating an action plan is the employer’s responsibility, and it is created together with the occupational health team for 1–5 years. Make sure to update the action plan at least once a year.

Break challenges down into smaller steps

If you are just starting out with work ability management and occupational health collaboration, the first target can be, for example, to establish the early support practices and document them in an early support model. Thereafter, the target could be to make active use of early support. Work ability management and occupational health collaboration involve continuous co-operation that evolves and improves along the way.

When thinking about ways to achieve the target, be sure to consider whether the measure realistically meets the target and whether it supports your company’s work ability management as a whole.

If needed, Ilmarinen will provide you with tools and advice for developing occupational health collaboration.

If the target is to reduce absences due to illness, it is unlikely that you will achieve that target by just increasing health examinations. However, if you add to the equation a well-functioning early support model and different flexible arrangements at the workplace and train your supervisors to bring up work ability issues, you will be much more likely to achieve the target.

Contents of the action plan

Occupational health service providers have ready-made templates in place for creating actions plans. They are all somewhat different. Some are clearer than others, but they all contain the necessary items.

A good action plan contains, at least, the following items:

  • your company’s main characteristics 
  • the most important identified challenges and risks related to employees’ health and work ability 
  • the occupational health needs determined and prioritised together 
  • the jointly set targets documented so that their achievement can be monitored and measured 
  • the activities in relation to the targets and the available resources 
  • how and when you will review the effectiveness of the activities and when you will update the plan.

A good action plan

A good action plan contains a practical and concrete answer to the following questions:

  1. What are the main challenges and how have they been detected and measured?  
  2. What are you going to do about them and in what timeframe?  
  3. How will you monitor the achievement of the targets?