Tomorrow’s Healthier Workplace: Strategies for Success in Occupational Health Management Systems
March 10, 2023
The importance of incorporating an Occupational Health Management System (OHMS) in your business operations cannot be understated. Although it is only recently that businesses have begun taking into consideration the overall well-being of their employees, especially in workplaces that have long-been considered low-risk, the overall integration of OHM systems into the core functionality of businesses has been dismal. In the UK for instance, there has only been a 0.8% growth in the OHMS industry in the last 5 years.
Since health is such a dynamic hot-button issue, even those businesses that have legacy systems in place may still have challenges in their implementation because of how rapidly the areas of focus shift. For instance, 10 years ago, businesses would not have had to factor in too seriously the mental health of their employees or taken nebulous issues like burnout into consideration. But in recent years, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, and the increase of Gen-Zs in the workplace, there has been increased demands of accountability from employers.
As workplaces evolve, so do the practices and policies that support employee health and safety. In this post, we will explore some of the latest trends in OHMS and discuss future directions, including the role of emerging technologies such as big data. By staying up-to-date on these developments, we can create safer and healthier workplaces for your employees.
Forward-thinking Approaches in Occupational Health Management Systems
Mental Health in the Workplace
The overall health of a modern workplace includes both the physical and psychological well-being of its workers.
While discharging their duties, employees may undergo extreme psychosocial distress stemming from the demands of their tasks, your company’s organisational structure and their interpersonal relationships. Although not immediately apparent, the hazards emanating from poor mental health practices in the workplace have the potential to impact your employee’s health and safety, as well as to reduce their productivity and cause other adverse organisational outcomes, which in the end impact your bottom line.
In many countries, including the UK, occupational acts have been amended to encompass psychological well-being in the definition of workplace safety and harassment. So on-top of ensuring that no physical harm comes to your employees, some legislative requirements compel you to protect their psychological wellbeing as well. These laws now recognize psychological health as part of the overall health and safety responsibilities in the handling of claims.
Working with your employees, you can create a comprehensive workplace health and safety program to achieve a psychologically safe workplace. Incorporating aspects such as stress management programs, teletherapy, and mindfulness training into your operational culture can have a significant impact on the wellness levels in your workplace.
The Role of Big Data in OHMS
Occupational Health Management Systems can leverage the power of big data to gain valuable insights into employee health and safety. By analysing large sets of data from various sources such as employee health records, safety incident reports, and environmental monitoring, OHMS can identify trends in employee health that may indicate potential hazards in the workplace.
A perfect example of the impact of big data in detecting risks is a study conducted in Europe utilising 20 datasets on physician reporting and compensation claims from 10 different countries, deriving trends in occupational disease incidence. The researchers considered the varying methods of data collection used in each country and concluded that the increased pool of information from data sharing had tremendous benefits in the detection of patterns.
The increased computerization of the workplace and the rise of occupational health compliance software over the last few years has been a key enabler of the accurate interpolation of risks and liabilities from past occurrences.
Diversity and Inclusion
OHMS are tasked with promoting and maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of all employees, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical ability.
To truly address the needs of diverse populations, OHMS professionals must first acknowledge the unique challenges that different groups face in the workplace. This includes understanding the specific health risks and hazards that may affect workers from different backgrounds and adapting prevention strategies accordingly.
For instance, as of 2021, there were over 4.4 million disabled people employed in the UK. These workers may face challenges such as difficulties in being alerted to danger and mobility issues that could hinder their evacuation during emergencies like a fire. Therefore, special considerations must be made to accommodate these differently-abled persons in the case of an event.
One way to ensure that your internal systems are inclusive is to incorporate the perspectives and experiences of diverse communities into the development of workplace health and safety policies. When you engage and consult with employee groups that represent the interests of underrepresented or marginalised populations, there are reduced chances of discrimination.
Adoption of OHMS software
Implementing OHMS software can have a significant impact on the overall health and safety of employees, while also streamlining and simplifying the management of occupational health data. OHMS software enables companies to better track and manage workplace injuries and illnesses, reducing the likelihood of recurrent accidents and improving overall health outcomes for employees. It also provides a centralised database that can be easily accessed by relevant stakeholders, allowing for better communication and collaboration between health professionals, managers, and employees. This is especially important for the remote and hybrid work systems that have gained traction in the past few years.
Investing in workplace health management systems software can also have significant financial benefits for companies. By reducing the frequency and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses, companies can save money on lost productivity, medical costs, and compensation claims. Additionally, OHMS software can help companies comply with regulatory requirements and avoid costly fines.
Meddbase provides a comprehensive OHMS software package that provides a high return on investment by creating a safer, more productive workplace for employees, and a more efficient and profitable business for your company.