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A unique working environment: health, sickness and absence management in UK call centres.

Taylor, Phil; Baldry, Chris; Bain, Peter; Ellis, Vaughan


Phil Taylor

Chris Baldry

Peter Bain


This article fills an important gap in our knowledge of call centres by focusing specifically on occupational ill-health. We document the recent emergence of health and safety concerns, assess the responses of employers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), critique the existing regulatory framework and present a holistic diagnostic model of occupationally induced ill-health. This model is utilized to investigate quantitative and qualitative data from a case study in the privatized utility sector, where the relative contributions to employee sickness and ill-health from factors relating to ergonomics, the built environment and work organization are evaluated. The principal conclusions are that the distinctive character of call-handling is the major cause of occupational ill-health and that effective remedial action would involve radical job re-design. Finally, the limitations of recent HSE guidance are exposed and industrial relations processes and outcomes analysed.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2003-09
Deposit Date May 9, 2008
Print ISSN 0950-0170
Electronic ISSN 1469-8722
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 435-458
Keywords call centres; health and safety; sickness absence; trade unions; work organization;
Public URL
Publisher URL