The severe human and economic burden caused by ill health and accidents at work proves that workplace wellbeing must be seen as ???among the priority boardroom issues in the private sector???, alongside finance and marketing.

This view was expressed by Senior Assistant General-Secretary of the Barbados Workers??? Union, Orlando Scott, who is the Deputy Chair of the Week of Excellence Coordinating Committee.

He made the comments at the launch of the Week of Excellence 2016, at Courtyard Marriott.

Mr. Scott told the gathering: ???We have to heighten our efforts in this area of worker health because recent revelations regarding health care costs in Barbados indicate that health care expenditure amounts to $700 million plus per year. Additionally, there is the news that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) alone are costing the Barbados economy just over $500 million per year.

???That is too heavy a spend for a small and fragile economy such as ours, which is still under the weight of the global recession. The foregoing information shows that illness, in its various forms, is causing a severe haemorrhaging of our economy, for which Barbados has to find a workable solution.???

He pointed out that a workplace wellness workshop was a recent innovation to the Week of Excellence programme. According to him, this activity is regarded as an important driver in relation to productivity, as the approach seeks to reduce the impact of work site illnesses and accidents and the resulting absenteeism and presenteeism.

Mr. Scott disclosed that one of the prime listed outcomes of this year???s seminar on Wellness and Productivity, to be held next Tuesday, February 23, would be the writing of a National Wellness Policy for Barbados.??

He opined that this seminar should assist in reducing the rampaging effects of NCDs and vector-borne diseases, together with mental health disorders and workplace accidents, as well as other areas of ill health in Barbados.

He noted that a report, published in 2015 by the British Trade Union Congress, indicated that 28.2 million days were lost to ill health in Britain each year; with 23.5 million of them due to work-related ill health and 4.7 million to workplace injury.

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