Human Factors in Context to Occupational Health and Wellbeing

Human Factors in Context to Occupational Health and Wellbeing

Muhammad Umair Javaid (Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia), Ahmad Shahrul Nizam Isha (Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia), Matthias Nubling (Freiburg Research Centre for Occupational Sciences (FFAW), Germany), Muhammad Zeeshan Mirza (Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia) and Zulkipli Ghazali (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2250-8.ch004
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Abstract

A workplace never resides in isolation and hence in the workplace employees experience both psychological and social conditions which often called as psychosocial work environment. The psychosocial work environment has become continuous component in studies of occupational health and stress and encompasses concerns on the risks which generate from the psyche perceptions of the individual's concern in accordance with the risks of the societal environment. The psychosocial environment at work has a deteriorating effect on the general health of workers such as musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, cardiovascular diseases, stress, burnout, sickness absence, labor turnover along with the organizational outcomes like the effectiveness of work, motivation, and performance. Psychosocial factors in response to the health repair process have become increasingly important in both developed and developing countries. Such factors have not frequently been studied or addressed in developing countries even though 80 percent of the working population lives in developing countries.
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Introduction

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has defined psychosocial risk factors at work “as the interaction between and among work environment, job content, organizational conditions and workers capacities, needs, cultures, personal extra-job considerations that may, through perceptions and experience, influence health, work performance and job satisfaction” (ILO, 1986). Gone are the days when physical risks in the working environment were considered the only factor that affects the safety, health, and wellbeing of the workers. Psychosocial risks have emerged and commonly accepted as a major concern over the workers’ health and safety with several aspects that includes, but not limited to, work demands either quantitative or qualitative, lack of control, rewards and social support, job insecurity, and interpersonal relationships at the workplace (Leka et al., 2015).

These risks are mainly addressed in developed countries and lack attention in the Industrially Developing Countries (IDCs) due to insufficient knowledge over such risks. Employers in IDCs may fall back with the awareness of psychosocial risks and work-related stress even though these risks were the second most important issue after accident and injuries that needed an urgent attention for impediment (Kortum, Leka, & Cox, 2010). EU-OSHA’s and European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) reports that momentous work related changes around the globe heading towards emerging psychosocial risks. From designing and managing of work to the economic and social context of work, these psychosocial risks results an increased level of stress which can lead to the worsening of physical and mental health (ESENER, 2009). According to the Global Occupational Health Network (GOHNET) report, psychosocial risk has either not or has only scarcely been addressed in newly industrialized countries and in developing countries (WHO, 2007b), even though 80% of the working workforce lives in developing countries (Rosenstock & Cullen, 2006).

Moreover, advancement in technologies and globalization has brought significant number of changes in the workplace. The World Health Organization (WHO) has disseminated the goal of promoting health in the work place by controlling the psychosocial risks at work in their global plan of action 2008-2017. However, WHO finds there is a significant gap in relation to safety, health, and risks associated with the workplace environment within and amongst countries (Dollard, Shimazu, Nordin, Brough, & Tuckey, 2014a). IDCs face numerous challenges in accordance with the advancement in technologies and globalization which results an increase in psychosocial risks and work-related stress within these developing countries (Widanarko, Legg, Devereux, & Stevenson, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Psychosocial Risks: Is the interaction between and among work environment, job content, organizational conditions and workers capacities, needs, cultures, personal extra-job considerations that may, through perceptions and experience, influence health, work performance and job satisfaction.

Healthy Workplace: Is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the safety, health and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering physical and psychosocial factors.

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