The study was developed by Dr Lisbeth Claus, professor of global human resources at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University, Oregon, on behalf of global medical and security services company International SOS.
An employer’s ‘Duty of Care’ refers to the obligation of an organisation to assume responsibility for protecting its employees from risks and threats when they are working around the world. More than 600 global companies, 15% of which are headquartered in Asian countries, were included in the research.
Singapore scored significantly higher than all other Asian countries surveyed around Duty of Care, and above the worldwide baseline.
Jukka Takala, executive director of the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Institute, comments, “There is no greater cause than human health and wellbeing – at work and when travelling. The results of International SOS’s Asia benchmarking survey highlight our inter-regional health and safety differences and the need for education and reform across the continent.
“I’m pleased that Singapore scored highly within the survey, and is able to pave the way for Asia to follow. That is why I am happy to join forces to make Singapore a role model in Health and Safety at Work by 2018.”
Overall, Asia achieved 60% in the Duty of Care risk-management model, compared with the worldwide average of 63%. India, China and Indonesia were ranked the top three high-risk countries. Pandemics and flooding were perceived as higher risks compared with illness or political unrest. Asia respondents perceive Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Sri Lanka among the top 20 high-risk countries, yet these countries do not make the worldwide list.
Dr Philippe Guibert, regional medical director for consulting services of South and South East Asia, International SOS, explains, “Organisations are increasingly expanding operations and staff numbers in Asia, and companies can no longer afford to run the moral and financial risks of neglecting Duty of Care obligations.
“Establishing a strong Duty of Care programme is not just ‘the right thing to do’; health and wellness programmes in the workplace increase a firm’s ability to attract and retain employees, resulting in lower headcount turnover and improved productivity, all of which add to healthier business performance.”
In the Summer 2012 issue of Re:locate magazine, our health features focus on how employees can best support their international assignees, and how health risks for employees working abroad can be mitigated.