A ground-breaking project is under way in Liverpool to improve the occupational health (OH) of self-employed people and small business employees.
The project is spearheaded by Liverpool tech specialists Damibu, and takes a ‘digital-first’ approach to a problem that is often overlooked by employers but costs the UK economy up to £18.8bn a year.
The Innovation Agency is one of three organisations that have partnered with Damibu. The Innovation Agency will be the NHS advisor, supporting engagement with health services and helping to expand the project into the health and social care sector.
Kays Medical, from Liverpool, will provide expertise and guidance on occupational health service provision, leveraging their extensive experience in the field.
The Liverpool Chamber of Commerce will facilitate engagement with local businesses and help identify the needs of self-employed individuals and SMEs in various sectors.
The project is funded by a £100,00 grant from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which in turn is supported by Innovate UK and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Damibu has developed a platform called Feeds that creates and distributes trusted online content, mainly in NHS settings, that can be managed locally and tailored to the needs of individual GP surgeries.
The project will be Feeds' first use outside the NHS and aims to enhance SMEs' access to OH services through a digital-first approach, addressing the current disparity in service provision between large employers and small businesses.
For OH providers such as Kays Medical, the project is an opportunity to digitally extend their services to micro-enterprises, improving service provision and increasing revenue.
Occupational health focuses on the prevention and treatment of injuries and illnesses caused by work. Health and Safety Executive research shows that more than one million UK workers were injured or made ill by their work in 2020-2021, the last period for which figures are available.
David Burrows, CEO of Damibu, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Kays Medical, the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, and the Innovation Agency on this innovative project.
“Our goal is to make occupational health services more accessible and tailored to the needs of SMEs. We believe that this partnership will bring us one step closer to achieving that goal."
He added the project would involve the creation of new features and specific content for the Feeds platform, which currently syndicates material to 140 primary care websites in Merseyside.
Mike Kenny, the Innovation Agency’s Associate Director for Enterprise and Growth, said: “We’ve worked with Damibu for several years, so we know they have a track record of innovative work.
“They’ve identified a problem and it’s part of our role now to help them deliver a solution.”