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Why Should Companies Pay Attention to Occupational Health and Safety

Why Should Companies Pay Attention to Occupational Health and Safety

Why Should Companies Pay Attention to Occupational Health and Safety in 2020 and beyond?

2020 has been a challenging year in terms of international health and safety. Statistics reveal that thousands of workers were injured in the workplace every day this year.

Making the issue of safety more challenging has been the coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in the loss of 1.3 million lives globally so far. Most organisations had to either transition to a full or partial remote work environment while most emergency services remained open while following social distancing protocol.

To combat the risks posed by ongoing health challenges, it is vital for employers to adopt adequate health and safety measures. Keeping your workplace and employees safe will contribute to a healthier and more productive work environment. It will also make the community safer and reduce stress and anxiety among your workers.

What is occupational health and safety?

Health professionals have defined occupational health and safety as the combination of efforts made by employers, employees, and the society to enhance the health, safety, and overall well-being of people at work. Promoting occupational health and safety involves laying emphasis on improving the work environment and growing workers’ participation in shaping health and safety rules. Some experts consider professional development as part of the framework of occupational health and safety.

Promoting good occupational health and safety practices requires consideration of multiple factors. Occupational factors include workplace design, quality of work culture, and promotion of healthy lifestyles among all workers. Non-occupational factors include home and commuting conditions, family welfare, and other community factors which affect workers’ health. A successful safety framework can be developed and implemented only when all stakeholders are involved in increasing control over and improving their health.

What are the benefits of promoting a healthier workplace?

Strong occupational health and safety standards can have tremendous benefits for both an organisation and its employees. The organisation will gain trust and respect of its employees as a caring employer. There will be an improvement in staff morale, reduction in staff turnover, and lower rates of employee absenteeism. Employers will also see enhanced productivity, lower health insurance costs, and reduced risks of fines and lawsuits.

On the other hand, employees will feel at peace working in a safe and healthy environment. Employees may also experience lower stress levels, greater self-esteem, and better job satisfaction. Ultimately, working for an organisation which prioritises their employees & well-being will boost people's morale and develop skills for protecting their own health and that of
their community.

Shift in approaches promoting workplace health

Around ten years ago, occupational health and safety revolved mainly around one or two general areas. Professionals were trained to take care of fire, environmental, or other security related departments.

In modern times, experts have encouraged the need to transition from a generalised to a more personalised health and safety approach in the workplace. As part of this approach, an observed trend has been the development of a comprehensive approach to workplace well-being. This approach includes factors beyond physical health such as emotional, financial, environmental, and social dimensions. In 2020, most workplaces started integrating the above listed factors into their workplace safety initiatives and programs.

A personalised approach to occupational health and safety also involves empowering workers to take responsibility for their own well-being. This can be achieved by educating workers on how to respond to a crisis not only in the workplace but also in their homes. Having safety professionals conduct work conditioning programs, first aid, early intervention, and coaching activities at work will help train your employees to identify signs of danger and take prompt action.

Encouraging good occupational health and safety practices should be an ongoing process. Internal support from teams and departments is necessary to develop a healthy work environment. Employers should provide incentives such as awards and competitions to boost their employees’ willingness to keep their surroundings healthy and safe.

Professional workplace safety solutions provider

Keeping in mind the dangers posed by the ongoing health crisis, employers must implement proper health and sanitation guidelines in the workplace if they have not already done so. If you are wondering where to begin, it is best to seek professional counsel. Care Net Consultants is among the leading providers of workplace health medical certificates and specialised training in occupational safety. Care Net supports organisations across South Africa through its extensive network of mobile clinics offering on-site medicals, fixed clinics, and online health portal.

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