Over ten million workdays a year lost over sick leave in Slovenia
While injuries, musculoskeletal system diseases and respiratory diseases are the most common reasons for calling in sick, mental and behavioural problems have been on the rise over the past few years.
Tanja Urdih Lazar of the UKC Ljubljana hospital has stressed that the extremely competitive work and life environments, poor socio-economical conditions and trouble with work-life balance as well as lack of communication play its role in the rising number of mental issues.
According to her, workplace health promotion, which is mandatory under Slovenian law, goes a long way in bringing down the number of sick leaves, but "it seems that certain employers just want to comply with the legislation and seek the simplest ways, which are, sadly, often completely unsuitable".
However, certain companies take it seriously, as they realise it can benefit them, Urdih Lazar has told the STA.
Most measures to help employees stay healthy do not require huge investments and entail minimal costs. They can, on the other hand, benefit the company, as workers tend to work better and more, and are more easily motivated in a healthy environment.
According to researchers, the number of sick leaves drops by 12-36% among those who attend workplace health promotion programmes. What is more, an euro spent on workplace health promotion can return as EUR 2.5-10 in savings because of fewer sick leaves.
Urdih Lazar has also noted that companies very rarely treat employees' diseases as occupational disease because they should cover the treatment of such diseases.
This has led to a situation in which occupational diseases have not been systematically looked for and registered in Slovenia since the early 1990s.
Occupational diseases that stem from the exposure to asbestos are an exception, meaning that officially these are the most common occupational disease in the country.
"In reality, hearing impairment, oversensitivity to various substances from the workplace... and of course musculoskeletal diseases are probably the most common," the expert for workplace health promotion has told the STA.