Organisations today stand committed to occupational safety

New Delhi: Every year more than 2.78 million people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases, a recent ILO report said.

In addition, there are around 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses each year, many of these resulting in extended absences from work. The human cost of this adversity is vast and the economic burden of poor occupational safety and health practices is estimated at 3.94 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product each year.

Thus, with ‘employee well-being, workplace safety and environmental protection’ as the key tenets of their overall growth strategy, leading global organisations today stand committed to the cause of Occupational Safety, industry stakeholders say.

April 28 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

“Employee safety and wellbeing are always on the priority list for companies. Every employee irrespective of age, gender, creed, culture, race and religion must need to feel safe while working in any organisation. Most of the companies put “Code of Conduct” guidelines in place to ensure the work environment is secured for all the employees,” says Rajiv Naithani, HR Head India, Infogain Corp.

With whistleblower policies and POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) guidelines in place, companies have constituted internal committees (ICs) to work towards making a safe and secured work environment for the women employees, which also includes orientation and sensitisation around laid down behaviour and guidelines as conduct in the company.

Other areas the company works in:

* Psychological & emotional safety: Ensuring the organisation has non-discrimination practices in places and providing a culture which is encouraging openness and transparency in the workplace is very essential. Respect for individuals irrespective of their level and background is very critical to companies these days.

* Physical and mental wellbeing: Due to stretched assignments, competitive environment and work requirement of working in front of laptop/computer for longer hours result in fatigue and stress. To help employees overcome these, companies ensure that the work environment provides opportunities to destress from the demanding work schedule.

* Employee engagement through surveys: Some of the statements which are usually found in such surveys are, this is a physically safe place to work; this is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work; our facilities contribute to a good working environment; people are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal lives.

“A healthy work environment is synonymous to robust business growth of an organisation. Addressing the wellbeing and workplace safety of our employees is a key priority for us. At Tech Mahindra, we practise the policy of ‘wellness before business’ to keep our employees engaged and motivated,” says Harshvendra Soin, Chief People Officer, Tech Mahindra.

As part of this initiative, the company conducts “several activities such as Preventive Health Screenings, provide doctors on Locations, Pharmacy@Desk, Doctor & Dietician on Chat, Daily Health Tips, Sick Bays, Wellness Infrastructure and have also launched a virtual yoga assistant to promote employees’ fitness”.

The company has constructed a comprehensive health and wellness programme known as Wealth of Wellness (WoW) that brings fitness to everyone’s doorsteps, or more aptly, to their desks. The activities under WoW include – Sponsored Preventive Health Screenings, Doctors on Locations, Yoga bot – ‘virtual yoga assistant’ , Pharmacy@Desk, Doctor & Dietician on Chat, Daily Health Tips, Sick Bays, Wellness Infrastructure etc.

Additionally, as part of the Wellness@Work initiative, Tech Mahindra has introduced a bouquet of wellness services ranging from video calling with doctors, gamification, digital detox and pay-and-use massage chairs at cafeterias.

Among other initiatives:

American Express: Companies like American Express are providing the next generation of health care to employees. This means looking at physical health and emotional health holistically, connecting the pieces across a wide spectrum of services, and garnering visible support from senior leaders and line managers. American Express India offers an employee assistance programme for employees to address their health issues.

The company also has an in-house happiness coach who is a professionally trained psychologist. While mental health support has conventionally been a HR mandate, at American Express people leader enablement is also a key tool to ensure employees get the support they need sooner.

Schaeffler, which operates in the automotive, aerospace and industrial spheres, believes that employee wellbeing is a core responsibility of good corporate citizenship and a critical performance strategy to drive employee engagement, organizational energy, and productivity. It defines and implements processes that fully comply with legal requirements for product safety. These procedures, together with the corresponding working methods, are constantly being improved, the company says.

Regular training measures to ensure that employees are able to identify, analytically investigate, and prevent product risks at an early stage. Quality assurance is directly integrated into the manufacturing process at Schaeffler and is supported by regular audits. In addition, the company has defined worldwide standards for occupational safety and environmentally-friendly manufacturing, the company says.