Academic journal article Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal

Psychosocial Risks in Relation to Health and Wellbeing

Academic journal article Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal

Psychosocial Risks in Relation to Health and Wellbeing

Article excerpt


Gone are the days when physical risks in the working environment were considered the only factor that affects upon the safety, health and wellbeing of the workers. Psychosocial risks have emerged and commonly accepted as a major concern over the workers' health and safety with several aspects that includes but not limited to work demands either quantitative or qualitative, lack of control, rewards and social support, job insecurity and interpersonal relationships at the workplace (Leka et al. 2015). Psychosocial risks are highlighted in regulations by important organizations (such as ILO, WHO, and European Commission) as "aspects of work organization, design and management that have the impending to cause harm on individual health and safety as well as other adverse organizational outcomes such as sickness absence, reduced productivity or human error" (e.g., WHO, 2008). The statistics of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) indicated that 1.1 million workers in the UK were suffering from sicknesses caused by their current or past work during 2010 (Davies et al. 2014). World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 160 million work-related illness cases occur every year and out of them one third are of back pain, 10% of lung cancer with 16% hearing loss, 11% of asthma and 8% depression. In a study conducted by (Mirza and Bashir 2015) over eight different industrial sectors found that if there are no safety policies in an organization then the accidents at large scale cannot be easily controlled and prevented.

The occupational accident cases in terms of deaths, permanent disability and non-permanent disability in Malaysia are kept on jumping in comparison to previous years. According to Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) statistics, only in year 2015 the total number of accidents reported in different sectors of the country are; 140 death cases, 104 permanent disability cases and 2563 are non-permanent disability cases. While particularly look into manufacturing sector which is on the top of the list with 27 death cases, 76 permanent disability cases and 1648 non-permanent disability cases have been reported till October 2015. On the other hand according to the reports of Occupational Health Division, Malaysia in year 2014, a total of 2648 occupational diseases and poisoning cases have been reported. Out of these reported cases, 2001 have successfully been diagnosed and investigated in order to bring improvements at workplace in terms of occupational health. Only 1 case has been reported due to psychosocial risks and problems mainly because psychosocial risks are ill-addressed with a limited knowledge in developing countries and Malaysia is of no exception. The cases revealed that manufacturing sector is top of the list amongst other sectors with a total of 1641 cases.

The nature of the psychosocial risks is complex that covers three dimensional issues relating to workers, general environment and work itself. Therefore, this study has shed light over the psychosocial quantitative and qualitative demand factors over the workers' health and wellbeing that have emerged because of the changing working environment that goes beyond the industrialized context and highlighted the need of an intervention model that should focus on workplace and contextual issues. In this study biomarkers will be used to measure the health and wellbeing of the workers working in the petrochemical industry of Malaysia. Biomarker is defined as a substance that can be used as an indicator of a biological state. They can be used to objectively measure the physiological response to psychosocial stressors. Biomarkers (blood pressure) will be used to determine the health status of the workers who are being affected with the workplace demands. This study will be helpful by addressing the part of information gap in terms of psychosocial risks in developing countries.

Theoretical Framework and Hypotheses Development

The Job Demands-Resources theory postulates that every occupation surrounded by different risks factors in association with job that are classified into two broad categories i. …

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