The Importance of Occupational Health in the Workplace
Posted by Tracy Seward
Occupational health, occupational health and safety, or workplace health and safety. Call it what you will but this is a vital area of health and safety, concerning itself with the wellbeing of workers and their safety as they carry out their day-to-day duties.
All workplaces are obligated to create a safe working environment for their employees by implementing the right safety measures and providing appropriate training to every member of staff. In some cases, such as an office building, this may be far simpler than it is in a more hazardous workplace like an offshore oil rig or a construction site but it is no less important.
According to the World Health Organisation’s occupational health mandate, this area of health and safety covers everything from the risk of injury or diseases in the workplace to social and individual factors along with the provision of access to health services when required.
Because occupational health is so closely linked with overall public health, WHO implement a key set of objectives outlining what organisations should do to ensure the health and safety of their workers. These include:
● Protecting health in the workplace and promoting a culture of safe working
● Implementing a clear health and safety policy
● Improving access to any relevant occupational health services
While this isn’t a statutory obligation, it does help to create a global framework of occupational health and safety standards. However, organisations in the UK do have a statutory obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workers, as set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974.
So why exactly is it so important that organisation implement health and safety practices in the workplace, beyond their statutory duty to do so? The simple answer is that because failing to do so will harm both employees as well as the company itself.
According to HSE statistics for 2019, 28.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and non-fatal workplace accidents in 2018/19. Such a staggering number of lost days amounts to a loss of revenue, not to mention the staff turnover that serious injuries or illnesses can lead to. In fact, work-related injuries and new cases of ill health cost organisations £15 billion in 2017/18.
Considering the human and financial cost of occupational health, it is vital that employees are trained on how to carry out their day-to-day task in a safe manner. This fulfils the statutory duty of employers to safeguard their employees and can help to reduce the cost of absences due to illness or workplace accidents.
One effective form of training is health and safety eLearning. Unlike tradition training days, these online modules allow employees to work at their own pace, ensuring that everyone engages with the training material in a meaningful way.
As specialists in providing workplace health and safety eLearning and training, we know the importance of occupational health in the workplace and the difference that correctly training employees can make. No matter what industry you operate in, you can find the right eLearning course to meet your needs.
To find out more, contact a member of our knowledgeable team by calling 08470 446 4201 or email us by filling out an enquiry form.