Health inequity is a global issue that is intermittently highlighted and the COVID-19 pandemic is the latest crisis that has brought this concern to the fore. On the 7th April, the World Health Organization (WHO) will use World Health Day as a call to action to eliminate health inequities as part of a year-long worldwide campaign. Inequity is closely linked to the more recognised terminology of inequality and refers to a situation that is unfair, whereas inequality describes a scenario that is not equal. A person can have equal rights to another or receive equal resources, but if their specific situation is not considered, the result can still lead to inequity. As thought leaders in the health & safety education sector, this is a particularly important issue to us.
Inequities in Leading a Healthy and Safe Lifestyle
Inequity in people’s ability to lead a healthy lifestyle on a global scale is something that many of us – especially those working in the health & safety industry – were somewhat aware of. Numerous factors, including inequality issues, can result in this inequity such as access to basic amenities, income difficulties, or poor living and working environments. In summary, anything that impacts the conditions in which a person is born, grows, lives, works and ages can contribute. As the WHO highlights, the result is unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature death, all of which negatively affect societies and economics.
Health & Safety Leaders
We can all agree that this is unfair, but often when it comes to issues on this scale, it can be difficult to appreciate the difference we can make as individuals. The WHO highlights the importance of leaders in ensuring that everyone, everywhere, can realise the right to good health. Whilst political leaders will play an integral role, we believe that anyone can lead change and advocate good health & safety practices. Like much of the turmoil faced in the 21st Century, if we all play our part in improving the situation, the changes achieved could be significant. Included below are some of the characteristics that the WHO are looking for from leaders. We have considered how NCRQ can help you to demonstrate these values in your own environment.
Working Together to Achieve Good Health & Safety
Teamwork is a fundamental attribute of many achievements. As governments are expected to work together in the coming years to overcome health challenges, you will be expected to work collaboratively in your organisations. Health & Safety has close links to procurement, human resources, and operations. Strong communication skills are imperative in ensuring that practicable solutions are developed to mitigate risk. NCRQ’s Level 6 Certificate considers these cross-functional relationships including looking at how liaising with procurement can to effective substitution controls being imposed.
Collecting Reliable Data
Data collection will help governments to identify inequalities that are preventing health inequity for an individual or society. Likewise, collecting data effectively can help you to identify risks in the organisation you work for. When considering the principles of health & safety, we identify the types of data that can be used to identify issues and implement controls. Applying models such as Pareto to analyse data can help us to classify priorities, including when one individual may be placed at greater risk than another.
Tackle Health & Safety Inequality
We are well informed when it comes to incidences of inequality on a global stage, but we are surprised to learn that the same scenarios apply to our own workplaces. As a health and safety leader, it is important to consider risks from different perspectives. The risk to someone’s health and or safety may be perceived differently depending on their age, ethnicity or gender. The solutions that we consider to mitigate risk need to be as diverse as the individuals with whom we work.
Act Beyond Borders
Literally speaking, it is suggested by the WHO that national and international mechanisms must be strengthened in order to ensure that health inequity is eradicated. However, this can also be interpreted into a business or industry environment. As health & safety professionals, you may choose to break down borders by liaising with those outside of your organisational environment, including suppliers and customers, to enable sound health & safety practice. Industry forums and social media are both great platforms to enable the sharing of ideas with people or companies that you may not interact with regularly.
Webinar – An Introduction to NCRQ
On the 7th April 2021, one of our directors Imogen Sykes will be hosting a webinar introducing NCRQ to new health & safety professionals. This is a great opportunity for people who have not encountered NCRQ or haven’t considered studying a health & safety qualification before. Taking these first steps in professional development with us will help you to progress your career and become an esteemed health & safety leader of the future.