Occupational health, well-being at work Occupational health, well-being at work

Occupational health, well-being at work

Special 28 November, 2016 Isabel Vallejo


A proper occupational health plan does not just involve taking active pauses. They include achieving the physical and mental health of all workers.

The average employee in Colombia spends approximately eight hours a day at their workplace, sometimes performing repetitive activities throughout the whole day or in the same position for several hours. This all contributes to the progressive deterioration of employees’ health and can be reduced by following the advice of each company’s occupational health departments or by following the recommendations of Occupational Risk Administrators (agencies that insure work-related diseases and accidents).

For John Jairo Ramírez, a physician with experience in the field of occupational health, the ultimate purpose of this discipline is prevention. “It’s about mitigating. It is not our goal to have an environment without occupational risks, that would be a utopia. We try to identify them and take all the necessary measures to prevent them from affecting the worker,” he states.

While performing their jobs, employees can experience two types of conditions: an accident, which is an unpredictable and unforeseen event, and an occupational disease, which occurs when someone is exposed to a risk factor over a long period of time. Occupational diseases can be as diverse in nature as what causes them. They can range from physical ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome and muscular pain, to mental illness such as stress or depression.

To prevent these conditions, doctors first intervene in the environment in which work activities are performed. If necessary, they may also directly instruct the individual to use protective equipment or special conditions. The most important part of workplace health, however, is self-care and getting regular medical check-ups in order to take timely action.

Most common techniques: The most common practices implemented at the workplace include active pauses, which in addition to breaking up the monotony of one’s daily routine, benefit the body by stretching it and changing its position.