Health according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity or disease”. Definition that has replaced the idea of health as the absence of biological diseases.
Today the concept considers social and environmental determinants. Labor conditions and risks need to be detected, assessed, and controlled in order to have a positive impact on the workforce, and their negative impact can be devastating to employees and organizations.
The decline in a colleague’s health may have causes related to broader economic, political, environmental and social determinants that may increase biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic and psychosocial risks in the workplace.
In the area of health and well-being, the world faces risks that affect political, social and economic contexts; linked to health coverage (vaccination, prevention and timely care); mental health (depression, anxiety and stress); absenteeism, burnout and occupational diseases that affect the productivity, profitability and safety of organizations; environmental determinants like climate change, air pollution, urbanisation; chronic diseases; Inequalities in access to health for people in vulnerable situations, among others.
Our recent study “People Risk” specifies the five pillars of people risk that are having the greatest impact on companies across Latin America. (85%) organizations confirm that risks to employee health, safety, burnout and mental health remain the biggest threats. 76% of companies address this risk and have roles and responsibilities to manage it. 82% of companies manage health and wellness, but only 49% have effective systems and communications in place to support a culture of employee safety. Attention to workforce mental health issues is only addressed by 66% of companies.
In our 2022 Global Insurers Survey, we identified the medical trends that will shape 2023. 55% reported an increase in deferred care, quarantine, and fears of infection during the pandemic, at a later stage of diagnosis. 16% of insurers report that they do not provide a mental health plan. Insurers have a limited reach and companies only provide telephone support to employees.
in conclusion; The challenge for organizations is great but feasible. Worker’s well-being determines the long-term effectiveness of an organization. It is essential to invest in the identification, assessment and control of risks to workers’ health, as well as in the development, updating or reinforcement of health and wellness programs in 2023, taking into account the range of labor order determinants. Can affect employees. employees.
* Director of Health, Fitness and Claims at Mercer Marshalls in Latin America