The incidence of work related injuries and fatalities in Macedonia are extremely high. The rate of work related deaths in the country is around ten to 15 times higher than in the UK and there is severe underreporting of occupational illness...
This was not always the case. When Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia, during its socialist era, the country enjoyed a well organised system having standards complying with the World Health Organization and International Labour Organization conventions. The breakup of Yugoslavia brought decreasing profit and a decline in health and safety standards. Now, however, Macedonia's economy is growing fast and occupational health and safety is being revived. Government and non-governmental organisations are more involved and industry is playing its part in getting the system back on its feet. Johnson Matthey is a leading player in this effort.
Improving Medical Examinations
Johnson Matthey Macedonia has been working with the Institute of Occupational Medicine to improve the quality of mandatory medical examination of workers. The company has set up a programme that divides workers into two groups: a 'standard activities' group and a 'heightened risk' group. Workers exposed to heightened risk undergo further tests in addition to the basic requirements. A major cause of work related fatalities in the country is falls from height. Johnson Matthey employees who regularly work at height are now tested for neurological indicators of coordination and motor skills. In this way, potential problems are detected early and risk is able to be mitigated. This project serves as a model which may soon be adopted by other companies in the country.
Investing in Occupational Health
Johnson Matthey Macedonia is continuously investing in its occupational health programme. It has a full time doctor and a fully equipped clinic for routine occupational medical examinations. By law, occupational health examinations have to be conducted every two years by a licensed third party but the company goes beyond this and provides in-house examinations every other year as an additional service.The business also collaborates with government institutions such as the Institute of Public Health and the Institute of Occupational Medicine.
As a young site, Johnson Matthey Macedonia believes the time is right to invest in the sustainability of its workforce for long term gains. At the same time, it is contributing to Johnson Matthey's target to reduce occupational illness and eliminate accidents at work.