Work is a "fantastic place" to help support public health issues and it is "ridiculous" for government to be expected to singularly tackle these problems, Dame Carol Black has said.
The co-author of the Sickness Absence Review believes that relying solely on state interventions to tackle health problems is an impractical and unrealistic solution.
She told the Cigna Global Healthy Workplace Summit that employers, along with other organisations, must play their part in improving public health and that workplaces had particular benefits.
"Being a government adviser I am asked ‘What is the government going to do? Let the government solve this problem'.
"Well that of course is ridiculous on its own - although governments have supported this agenda, encouraged it, initiated certain programmes and done a little bit of legislation around health and safety.
"But we're all in this together and improving workplace and public health is not going to happen if we just rely on any government. That's wrong and in many countries would be seen as interference and most certainly not appropriate."
Dame Carol explained there were many reasons that made workplaces good places to help develop initiatives and support people's health needs.
"I'm a very powerful advocate of public health in the workplace," she said.
"I have never understood why in this country it's only ever done in our communities when there are 27 million people in the workplace. The government is nudging us appropriately in that direction.
"The workplace is a fantastic place to do these things: you've got a captive audience; can engender team spirit; train your managers in effective communications and awareness in wellbeing with respect to mental health; it's in your hands whether the right culture is developed and you've got a very powerful means of communication and peer support."
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