2021 is wrapping up with the emergence of the fast- spreading Omicron variant. First sequenced in South Africa, this latest COVID strain has already been detected on all continents and moving quickly, suggesting that the struggle will continue to keep employees safe at work.
Not that physical safety is the only employer concern. The mental health and wellbeing crisis is becoming an increasing priority for business leaders. And they have great reason to be worried.
Throughout the pandemic, polling, such as the Household Pulse survey, revealed acute rises in the number of adults suffering anxiety and depressive disorders. Rates of depression rose around the world; in Australia, for instance, rates rose from a pre-COVID-19 baseline of around 10 per cent of the population to nearly 30 per cent (27.6 per cent) in 2020. Anxiety also rose, from 13 per cent to 21 per cent over the same period, according to data compiled by the OECD.
Given the trendlines, what will it take to keep employees healthy, safe, and mentally well in the new normal of COVID? This guide lays out some best-practice health, safety, and wellbeing strategies, heavily informed by the ISO 45000 family of standards, which include ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety), ISO 45003 (Psychological Health and Safety at Work), and ISO 45005.
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