Introduction to Using SART - Getting Started and Opening Menu

  1. Background to project and SART development
  2. Introduction to the SART application - the database and guidance format
  3. Opening SART, and the Workgroup and security settings
  4. Starting SART, data and navigation
  5. Use of date fields and pop-up calendar utility
  6. Use of Standardised Coding Schemes

Background to The Project and Prototype SART Database Development

The original research and development project to develop SART and associated sickness absence management guidance materials was carried out by the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2002 - 2004. Some further background to sickness absence and the reasons behind the development project is described here.

The IOM was commissioned to carry out research into Sickness Absence recording methods and to develop a simple, standardised Sickness Absence recording tool that could be used by organisations, particularly SMEs that currently have no absence management and recording system in place. The aims were to investigate the status of sickness absence recording in the UK, and to develop a simple recording tool and accompanying guidance information to assist employers in managing sickness absence. Further information on the background to this project and the increasing need for better sickness absence management tools is available on the About page.

This project was completed in late 2004. A detailed final report on this work is available in pdf format from the HSE Website. Further information on the HSE approach to sickness absence management is available at

Following that earlier project, the SART is now undergoing further testing and evaluation as part of the SAM Project. Further background on the SAM project is available from the SAM Website. Following these trials and subsequent refinement, it is expected that the tool and accompanying guidance materials will be made freely available to employers, download-able from a Website along with further information on its use, support, related links, etc.

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Introduction to the SART application - the database and guidance materials format

Within SART help is available from any screen by clicking on the Help menu item in the menu bar at the top of the screen. This help is also available from any screen by pressing the F1 key.

A primary aim has been to produce a compact, simple and user-friendly tool. The minimum recommended PC specification is Microsoft Windows (2000, XP) environment, with a minimum of Pentium II 233, with 128MB Ram, and a preferred screen resolution of 1024 x 768.

The prototype tool has been developed using the Microsoft™ Access Database Management System (MS Access), with a "run-time" version available. With the run-time version the tool can still be used by organisations that do not use the MS Access system, or other Microsoft Office™ products. At the moment the run-time version is Access XP (also known as Access 2002, or Access version 10). Those users with Access XP (or later version) already installed will be able to run the database without using the Access XP run-time (provided the security file is correctly referenced).


Guidance and help materials have been produced in HTML format, to make them portable and independent of the format of the tool. Again, the format of these files has been kept small and simple, avoiding the use of fancy graphics or complex menus for example, to allow their use by older and less sophisticated equipment and browsers. The portability and simplicity of the format allows their immediate use for providing guidance information via a web site on the the Internet, and allows their adaptation for other document types, and future revisions to the tool.

The HTML pages have been stored locally in the "guide" sub-folder of the tool. The majority of the same pages form the substance of a project website, which can be also used to access information on developments and updates about SART and related material.

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Opening SART, and the Workgroup and security settings

SART uses an Access Workgroup security file (SART122.mdw for version 1.2.2) set up for the purposes of SART.

Access to the SART application is restricted to users with defined user accounts only.  Each user account is a member of a role-based user group.  The SART application has been configured with four standard user accounts and a user management utility that allows the Administrator to manage access to the application.

More information on the configuration of the security settings is available here.

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Starting SART, data and navigation

Following installation the database tool can be started from the SART Program item or desktop shortcut in Windows.

main menu

In general terms the interface to the database is controlled through the use of forms into which you enter or edit data. As well as gathering data, forms are used to make selections and choices via on-screen menus and buttons to navigate through the tool, produce reports, output data etc.

Throughout the tool, data is entered into 'Fields'? on a form. Type or edit entries into each field as presented on the screen.

In Organisation, Employee and Absence forms, a few fields have been designated as 'mandatory'? or 'required'? fields, and must be entered. The prompts or labels for mandatory (ie required) fields are shown underlined and framed in colour. These fields will be checked for completion when the data is saved, and warnings issued if they are missing. Other fields may be left blank although users are encouraged to add data as the more detail that is supplied the better management can act upon it, and the more useful will be the tool and the reports it can produce.

Liberal use has been made of 'Tooltips'? throughout the SART tool interface so that the user has immediate access to useful information on the forms and menus. These appear when you hover the mouse cursor over a field or button. They provide information on the data that should be entered into a field, or the function of a button.

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Use of date fields and calendar utility

Date fields in the database can be filled or edited in several ways, to suit the user.

The data can be entered with the keyboard (eg enter '12/02/1966'?, for 12th February 1966).

Alternatively, double-clicking on the date field will open up a small Calendar form, as shown below, and the mouse then used double-click on a chosen date to choose a date to will be pasted into the field. If there is already a date in the field the calendar will open on that date, otherwise it will open at today's date. double-clicking on a chosen day will enter that into the current date field. To close the calendar without setting a date click on the X button to close the calendar.


For existing date fields that need to be adjusted, this can also be done by increasing or decreasing the date by a day at a time, using the plus (+) or minus (-) keys on the keyboard.

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Use of Standardised Coding Schemes

In the interests of developing standardised information on sickness absence in the UK, as part of the development project the IOM has been working with the HSE to devise a standardised coding scheme for sickness absence causes, that links to other recognised illness classification schemes. The scheme developed so far, with a search mechanism, has been implemented in the tool. It will be subject to revision following the prototyping exercise. More information on the basis of the scheme is given here.

The SART tool has also been provided with two other standardised coding schemes to enhance the comparison of data in the future.

The first is for the economic activity of a company or enterprise, known as the UK Standard Industrial Code, 2003, (SIC 2003). This codes what it is that a company mainly does or makes. More information on SIC 2003 is available from the UK Office for National Statistics.

At employee level, for the jobs that people do there, is also a national coding scheme, the Standard Occupational Classification 2000 (SOC 2000). This is used to classify jobs in the UK National Census and in many other important social surveys. More information on SOC 2000 is available from the UK Office for National Statistics.

You are not obliged to use these two coding schemes, but their use is preferred and you are encouraged to adopt them if you can.

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