SGS Launches Global Occupational Health Management System
Promoting the health and wellbeing of our people while at work goes beyond simply protecting them from immediate harm. Industrial environments can present potential hazards, such as exposure to carcinogens or damage to hearing, which may not manifest as physical symptoms for several years.
Health risk assessments can help to identify and prioritize the control of health hazards, such as exposure to noise or vibration, ionizing radiation, solvents, fumes, dust, biological agents and other hazardous substances. Employees exposed to such hazards can benefit from medical surveillance – the systematic monitoring of their health to detect the onset of any disease or condition, so that preventative action can be taken, or treatment can begin. Medical surveillance is a regulatory requirement only in certain countries, so not all workers exposed to health hazards receive such health scrutiny.
SGS is committed to addressing all forms of inequality, including those linked to health and wellbeing. In 2019, our Global Operational Integrity (OI) team launched a comprehensive risk based occupational health program across our global operations. This program has been informed by a four year health risk assessment process involving all regions and all business lines. It uses both qualitative and quantitative indicators to identify those roles with exposure to potential health hazards. Initially, the program was piloted in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The OI team is now deploying it globally, with the aim of standardizing and simplifying the management of health risks, so that all employees whose job duties place them at risk of exposure to occupational hazards are protected.
In collaboration with our certified industrial hygienists and consulting medical practitioners, our health management program focuses on prioritizing the control of chronic health hazards, along with preventing occupational disease through the detection and elimination of underlying causes of ill health. Our electronic “Health Track” system allows us to make standardized recordings of occupational exposure assessments and medical surveillance results, so we can trend occupational health performance over time. Data can be captured and interpreted remotely by trained professionals, enabling us to identify when we must undertake risk-based interventions and showing us how best to allocate and prioritize resources.
This comprehensive health program complements our established safety at work program and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that all employees across our global operations can benefit from the highest standards of safety, health and wellbeing.