Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Malaysia - Psychosocial risks at work affect business

SIBU: All organisations need to consider work-related stress and psychosocial risks as part of their safety and health strategies to reduce accidents and injuries at the workplace.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye reasoned that managing stress and psychosocial risks at work would create a healthy work environment, in which workers feel valued and the workplace culture is more positive and consequently, productivity and business performance improve.

Lee added although many factors contribute to workers’ mental health and well-being, there is increasing evidence that the workplace environment makes a significant contribution.

Hence, he said employers should be responsible for implementing plans to prevent or reduce psychosocial risks, enabling their employees to play their part and help create a healthy psychosocial work environment.

“In a good psychosocial environment, work can be beneficial for mental health, giving workers a greater sense of social inclusion, identity and status, opportunities for development and increased confidence.

“Conversely, a poor psychosocial work environment can have significant negative effects on workers’ health. There are five categories of health hazards in the workplace – physical, chemical, biological, ergonomics and psychosocial. Stress falls under psychosocial,” Lee said in press statement emailed to thesundaypost here yesterday.

He pointed out as workers spend one-third of their day at office, workplace issues are one of the major contributors of depression but it is often overlooked by employers.

Employees may not recognise the symptoms, especially if they are suffering from a mild form of depression such as burnout and dysthymia, he figured.

“The impact of mental health problems on the workers, their families and society as a whole, is immense and needs to be addressed. It is important to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of workers and their families through initiatives to promote good mental health at the workplace.

“Mental health issues at the workplace should be given due attention as the productivity of the staff of any organisation depends on their mental health.”

He cautioned that the neglect of mental health and psychosocial factors at the workplace is not only detrimental to a worker but also directly affects productivity, efficiency and output of any organisation.

Lee said employee performance, frequent illness, absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover are all affected by employees’ mental health status, adding that no workplace is immune to mental disorders.

Therefore, he strongly felt that mental health should no longer be ignored.

On the contrary, it should be given adequate attention in relation to other business in any organisation. Mental health among employees must not be overlooked when discussing OSH issues at the workplace.

He said workplace health promotion is essential and it requires the combined efforts of employers, employees and government working together to improve the health and well-being of people at work.

He noted that the concept of workplace health promotion (WHP) is becoming increasingly relevant as more private and public organisations recognise that success in a globalised marketplace can only be achieved with a healthy, qualified and motivated workforce.

“The implementation of WHP can ensure a flexible and dynamic balance between customer expectations and organisational targets on the one hand and employees’ skills and health needs on the other, which can assist companies and work organisations to compete in the marketplace. For nations, the development of WHP will be a pre-requisite for sustainable social and economic development,” Lee concluded.


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