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The scope of occupational health professionals has grown as a result of Covid-19, and this is no more apparent than when navigating with the health concerns, challenges and priorities facing global and multinational employers. Dr Anthony Renshaw outlines how OH can successfully manage a global response to the pandemic.
In the past year, fresh focus has fallen on the actions and activities of occupational health (OH). We’ve seen how senior leadership, up to the C-suite, have taken a hands-on interest in the impacts that health and wellbeing can have on organisational success.
Across industries, OH professionals have found themselves at the forefront of ensuring business resilience. Those in already highly regulated industries, such as oil and gas, have long understood this, yet they have been equally challenged with managing the uncertainties that the pandemic has brought.
Many white-collar firms may have previously seen ‘duty of care’ as a tick-box exercise, and health risks in particular as being rather distant. We now see that almost all companies now starkly realise the potential financial, legal and personal impacts of not protecting their employees adequately in this rapidly changing environment.
For many OH practitioners, this has meant stepping into a leadership role at the core of their organisation. Having insight on how the pandemic is developing globally, whether in a single location or across countries and territories, along with an understanding of how to inform and advise a diverse employee base has become crucial. This will continue to grow in complexity as key elements, including regulations and vaccination roll-out programmes, differ around the world and control over the pandemic has diverged.
Providing global leadership
The most successful return-to-operations programmes see OH practitioners successfully engaging the entire workforce, helping frame and communicate ke