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Mental Health Key to Improving Workplace Safety: Panelists



Employers can make their workplaces safer by addressing the mental health issues of their workforce. mental health crisis in the workplace.

"One of the things that really worries me recently is mental health and the relationship between incidents and accidents in the workplace," said Laurence Pearlman, Raleigh, North Carolina-based senior vice president at Marsh Risk Counseling.

When employers see distraction from workers or other signs of mental problems or unhealthy behaviors, they often do not have the resources to deal with the problem or the skills to deal with it, he said.

Mr. Pearlman noted that studies have shown that 3% of workers account for about 22% of workplace accidents, and that these accident-prone workers are 50% more likely to suffer a serious accident than other employees. But while employers may consider just laying off such workers, studies have shown that being exposed to accidents is usually a temporary condition, usually lasting only six to twelve months and caused by serious problems at work or at home, he said.

These problems may include physical or emotional conditions, a social or economic crisis or distractions caused by pressures such as the pandemic, he said.

"We need to recognize the strains our employees are under and how to deal with it," he said. “Having a mental health strategy is crucial. There are many … mental health conditions that lead to certain results at work that are not good for the employee, nor good for the company.

Make the business goal to address mental health issues, e.g. showing how decoupling can lead to lower productivity is "a good starting point," says Sandra Kuhn, Chicago-based partner and national leader of the behavioral consulting team at Mercer LLC.

"We need to create an environment that supports mental health, period," Pearlman said. This includes "really understanding the impact of mental mental health on productivity, absenteeism and obviously incidents."

to begin by meeting the mental health needs of employees, Kuhn said, adding that employers must ensure that these programs are easily accessible and that people use them.

Mr Pearlman said employers must take a holistic view of mental health challenges.

"You can not just say, 'We have an EAP, we're done,'" he said. "We really need to have a holistic view. wonderful that we have these options right now. ”

More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here .

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