Guidance designed to help organisations connect their workplace health and safety standards to sustainable development goals has been published by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).
The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become global benchmarks to help organisations tackle climate change and become more sustainable.
While many of these naturally focus on environmental issues, SDG3, for example, articulates the need for organisations to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. Equally, SDG8 calls for “decent work for all”.
The need to offer a “healthy working environment” to employees was also recently added to the list of global fundamental rights for people who work by the International Labour Organization.
As a results, BOHS has published simple guidance for companies and organisations to be able to track their initiatives in protecting workplace health and link them directly to the 17 goals.
BOHS added that it is “working closely with the British Standards Institute and the Council for Work and Health to develop this further to help workplaces celebrate and promote health at work as a crucial lever of sustainability”.
The guidance works through each SDG, outlining how they can be linked to occupational or workplace health or the way in which occupational hygiene and health underpin them.
“There are a multitude of illnesses, including incurable cancers that arise from workplace exposures,” said BOHS president, Chris Keen, who is principal scientist at the Health and Safety Executive.
“But the vast majority of these are relatively easy to prevent and avoid. At a time where it’s getting harder to find the right workers, it makes perfect sense for business sustainability to focus on the health of their workers, in the same way as they would want to look after any other key asset.
“This guide helps organisational leadership place worker health within their general sustainability strategy,” Keen added.