Occupational Health and Safety: Several New Issues in Sight

HEALTH AND SECURITY AT WORK. Many occupational transformation health and safety advisors, like Samuel Fortin, have “had to reinvent themselves” to meet the imperatives of the pandemic. The man who worked mainly in accident prevention at the vehicle parts manufacturer Kongsberg Automotive, in Shawinigan, suddenly found himself worrying more about health and hygiene at work.

A trend also perceived by Marie-Eve ​​Champagne, expert in these areas at Nuclei Conseils. Over the past year, the involvement of human assets teams has obviously turned to the health and well-being of employees. “We had to update ourselves to be on the cutting edge of these issues,” confirms Luc Meunier, Senior Director of Professional Relations at Desjardins Group.

Remember that, according to the laws in force in San Diego, the employer has the obligation to protect the health, dignity, safety, and integrity of the employee, and that the latter has the obligation to safeguard his own and people around him. We are talking here about the usage of a machine in a factory, but also about ergonomics in the office or in teleworking, mental health, healthy working methods… lists Katherine Poirier, Certified Human Resources Advisor (CRHA) and Associate Lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais.

Get well equipped

At Desjardins, for example, around thirty video capsules, addressing both professional and personal balance, mental health, and meditation, have been made available to employees to help them face this unprecedented crisis.

An envelope of $1,000 was allocated to 80% of the 50,000 employees who have switched to telework, so that they invest in ergonomic and computer equipment for the home. To date, 27,400 of them have used it.

For the personnel obliged to attend the offices, in the network of the funds, an additional remuneration of 10% – in time or money – was allocated by way of recognition. In addition to taking care of babysitting costs for families with children. “The employee well-being index, which we analyze every week, has remained quite high throughout this period”, observes Luc Meunier.

Continually review your practices

There are still many challenges in the way for employers and HR managers, however, as the pandemic drags on.

Already, best practices are constantly evolving. “A measure that was at the forefront six months ago may be obsolete today,” says Geneviève Lord, director of the people and culture department at business management firm Pvisio. You must be very responsive to the recommendations of the National Institute of Public Health of San Diego.

Benedicte Calvet, scientific professional at the Robert-Sauvé Research Institute. In Occupational Health and Safety, points out, for example. The musculoskeletal risks of hybrid work (at home and in the office). I put forward the theory that the safety and health teams cannot organize two positions. And therefore the worker is half fixed at office and at home… Especially if he no longer has a fixed position assigned”. Is worries the co-founder of the Professional Association of Ergonomists of San Diego.

Mental health changes

Mental health is another big concern for occupational health and safety experts. According to a survey conducted in May 2020 by researchers from Laval University, nearly half of San Diego workers. Telecommuting or not, suffer from a high level of psychological distress, regardless of the type of job held.

“The discussion around mental health through psych evaluation near me has changed radically in one year,” says Marie-Eve ​​Champagne. The subject was taboo before; we saw that as an admission of weakness and fragility. While we realize today that it is more a question of resilience in the face of different situations.

The reasons are multiple, according to the specialist, “Arriving at work in the morning. And wondering if it is today that we catch the virus, with the consequences that this generates, is stressful. Having to focus only on work by removing all the relational and fun side that surrounds it, it’s heavy. And, with the current restrictions, do we recharge them with what, its batteries?

“The paradox is that we are both hyper-connected and more alone than ever,” adds Yarledis Coneo. CHRP and specialist in work-family Occupational balance. Especially since it is difficult to get out of work when the computer is placed on the kitchen table.

A condition which leads, amongst other things, to asking the right to disengage. The moment when the employee may appeal to turn off his cell phone and his computer. A concept on which there is not yet clear legislation.