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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica will join the rest of the world on Thursday, April 28, to commemorate World Day for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).
  • Themed: ‘Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge’, the day will feature several activities by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
  • Director of Occupational Safety and Health Department, Marlon Mahon, in an interview with JIS News, said this year’s theme places focus on an area in the workplace that often goes undetected or unaddressed.

Jamaica will join the rest of the world on Thursday, April 28, to commemorate World Day for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).

Themed: ‘Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge’, the day will feature several activities by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

There will be several booths on display with information on OSH at the Ministry’s North Street location. The public will also get an opportunity to interact with staff from the OSH Department to ask questions or raise areas of concern.

 On the same day, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, will join the HEART Trust/NTA as guest speaker for its OSH seminar; while members of the OSH department will be among panelists at a panel discussion to examine the day’s theme, at the University of the West Indies.

Director of Occupational Safety and Health Department, Marlon Mahon, in an interview with JIS News, said this year’s theme places focus on an area in the workplace that often goes undetected or unaddressed.

“Workplace stress with its its poor identification and mismanagement is one of those vexing issues that is often times overlooked and consequently left to be managed by individual workers and not at an organisational level in Jamaica. Subsequently, we are happy that it is being highlighted at this time through our international labour standards oversight body and partners,” he said.

Mr. Mahon added that workplace related stress or psychosocial hazards can come from several sources, including: factors unique to the job; roles in the organisations; career development; workplace bullying; inter-personal relationships at work; or the organisational structure and climate.

These triggers, he said, could eventually lead to illnesses, such as hypertension, cardiac diseases and mental disorders.

“Over time workers may also become ill to the point where they opt for early retirement and this will lead to a loss of skill in the organisation,” Mr. Mahon noted.

“Once a worker is stressed and they are not focused, it affects how they carry out their tasks. There is a concept of presenteeism where persons are at work physically, but mentally they are not there. The worker is distracted and because they are distracted, they may be involved in accidents and this leads to loss time and this will affect productivity,” he said.

The OSH Director pointed out that there are inventions that can be employed to minimize the harmful effects of workplace related stress. These include wellness activities, such as sports days, working out in the gym and team building exercises.

Mr. Mahon appealed to employers and workers to work together to find solutions to address stress and other workplace issues.

“We need to ensure that as employers and employees we come together to look at what are some of the challenges that workers face in executing their duties and see how best they can be addressed,” he said.