LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Only 20% of India’s 465 million strong workforce are covered by the country’s existing health and safety legal framework. This is despite the high level of infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which account for an economic burden in India in the range of 5% to 10% of gross domestic product. Revealed in the latest International SOS and Enhesa white paper, ‘Investing and Operating in India; The Occupational and Workplace Health Risks from a Compliance and Duty of Care Perspective’, the report provides insight into the occupational and workplace risks and challenges faced by foreign organisations operating in India and best practices for success in the region.
Dr Rahul Kalia, Medical Director at, International SOS comments, “As India is increasingly becoming a preferred business location for multinational corporations, it is imperative for organisations with growth ambitions to implement and maintain effective health and wellness programmes in the environment of variable healthcare standards. In doing so, employers can tackle major absenteeism and presenteeism trends, which impact productivity and profitability, in an indirect but significant way.”
Dr Kalia continues, “Non-compliance with the regulatory framework and safety provisions in India can result in large financial penalties, and even imprisonment. However, some companies have understood the challenges of the environment and turn it into a competitive advantage.”
Identifying the key healthcare trends, the paper highlights that both infectious and non-communicable diseases pose a significant threat to employee health and wellbeing. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are estimated to account for 60% of all deaths. Cardiovascular diseases specifically are among the leading ten causes of adult (25 to 69 years) deaths. Furthermore, NCDs account for about 40% of all hospital stays and roughly 35% of all recorded outpatient visits.
This is alongside the existing and traditional occupational health and safety challenges, such as accidents, pneumoconiosis, musculoskeletal injuries, chronic obstructive lung diseases, pesticide poisoning, noise-induced hearing loss and infectious diseases. In addition, violence in the workplace is a prominent concern for organisations.
President of The Employers' Federation of India, Mr Vineet Kaul, says, “Over the past few years, the country has seen several changes in its economic and environmental conditions, and businesses are required to adapt to these changes. While significant progress has been made, healthcare trends in India have been and remain consistent with challenges other emerging countries face. The magnitude and complexity of the workforce required to drive economic growth makes it imperative for emerging economies to focus on occupational health as an integral part of corporate growth strategies.” he says.
As well as the requirement to maximise productivity, risk avoidance and sustainability are also at stake. The paper outlines the key workplace, health and welfare regulations with which organisations need to comply, as well as best practice from a Duty of Care perspective. It also suggests a framework of regulations, requirements and best practices for overseas organisations to protect their workforce and improve productivity in the region.
Tjeerd Hendel-Blackford, Head of Thought Leadership at Enhesa, states: “As a result of the many challenges relating to employee wellbeing, most standard medical emergency management strategies are difficult to implement in India. Taking a proactive approach to managing occupational health challenges will mitigate risks to employees, demonstrate a commitment to Duty of Care and support sustainability goals and reporting.”
The paper, which also includes case histories, is available here.