The Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management Global Benchmarking Study highlights the need for companies to preemptively protect their employees and their business, and that those approaches are clearly linked to success.
I recently had the opportunity to discuss the medical risk outlook for 2012, with a focus on occupational health. These issues are especially prevalent in my area of work, which includes medical needs of energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Much of that work is being done in Latin America and especially Brazil. Still, there are five key global occupational health topics that organizations are focused on:
- Regulatory issues and challenges – difficult area to navigate. Often, many government agencies are involved in occupational health and safety.
- Changing demographics – much of the focus has been placed on the aging workforce. Younger workers have a higher frequency of injury and illness but take less time to recover than older workers.
- Health and productivity – issues of absenteeism are prevalent in many parts of the world. Some companies are implementing programs to reduce this. In the United States, cost is a big driver of these programs while changing employee behavior and company morale are big in other parts of the world.
- Shift work – studies have shown an association between shift work and conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and stroke.
- Stress issues – issues related to stress are increasingly becoming an issue globally. This is the largest driver of programs in many parts of the world.
Global trends are emerging between regulatory requirements and industry standards. In some countries, not all regulations are implemented as an industry standard. Some have a large difference between regulatory requirements and industry standards for multinationals. The level of regulation is not related to the country’s development or the health infrastructure.
Organizations entering new regions must take numerous factors into account, including workplace exposure, local and industry regulation and personal health risks, conditions and behaviors. It is also important to know the local obligations to workers and how to manage varying regulations.