Workplace Support Activities By Occupational Health Service Organizations in Japan
Government organizations and international bodies across the world are working to support the treatment and occupational health of employees. In line with the global awareness of occupational health and safety, Japan has developed guidelines that require enterprises to support employees’ treatment and work integration.
Unfortunately, small-scale enterprises often lack the required resources to support such occupational health service (OHS) activities, resulting in poor health outcomes for its employees. While external organizations providing occupational health support can remedy this situation, not much is known about the support activities provided by such OHS organizations.
In this study, researchers studied 76 National Federation of Industrial Health Organization listed OHS organizations in Japan to understand their support activities for client enterprises. The findings are based on the analysis of self-reported questionnaire responses by occupational health specialists from participating organizations.
OHS organizations were grouped into small, medium, and large categories for the purpose of the analysis.
The study found that more than 20% of the OHS organizations were already offering support activities of some kind to their clients, and nearly half of them were planning to do the same in the future.
However, there were differences in the awareness levels about the health and employment support guidelines among occupational health specialists and account managers within organizations. Awareness levels of employees did not signficiantly differ across OHS organizations of different sizes.
The study also revealed that prefectural occupational health total support centers were most commonly used for referral and cooperation by enterprises. Moreover, OHS organizations reported requiring external support to promote their support activities. 20% of them preferred seeking advice from such total support centers.
These findings suggest the need for initiatives aimed at educating managers to effectively extend their support to client enterprises. In summary, the study provides useful insights on the support activities of OHS organizations, that can be used to improve the quality of OHS in Japan.
Link to the original journal article:
Activities from external occupational health service organizations to support balancing treatment and occupational life in Japan
Jiro Moriguchi, Yuko Nyuhara, Fumiko Ohashi, Hisashi Eguchi, and Akizumi Tsutsumi
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