Special Topics in Safety Management

Three Ways You Can Support Workers’ Wellness

For a number of years, OSHA has been making the business case for safety, pointing out that employers can save $4 to $6 for every dollar invested. A similar message is emerging regarding health. A 2014 RAND Corporation study of 7 years of PepsiCo data found that efforts to help employees manage chronic illnesses saved nearly $4 in healthcare costs for every dollar invested.

Here are three ways you can help encourage workers’ wellness efforts.

Encourage healthy eating

A healthy diet will help workers control their weight, strengthen their immune systems, and ward off chronic diseases. Help workers’ efforts by:

  • Providing healthy menus at workplace events. Serve fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains instead of baked goods at workplace parties.
  • Making work a “safe food zone.” Discourage workers from bringing in doughnuts or sweet treats from home. Provide healthier options at meetings and events.
  • Offering healthy vending machine choices. Make sure that workplace vending machines offer healthy choices, such as water, low-fat milk, baked whole-grain crackers, and fruit and vegetable chips.

Are you confident that employees at your facility would prioritize their safety and the safety of their coworkers when facing a risky task? Join us for this webinar on February 4 to learn how to assess your employees’ current attitudes.

Encourage other healthy habits

It can be hard to work in regular exercise when schedules are full with work and family obligations. To help workers stay active and healthy:

  • If you offer premiums, bonuses, or incentives to workers, consider items like gift cards for produce markets, sporting goods stores, or personal trainer services; pedometers and heart rate monitors; or subscriptions to healthy lifestyle magazines.
  • If shiftwork or weather conditions keep workers from getting outside, provide indoor opportunities for exercise, such as walkable stairwells or handouts on performing stretching exercises at a desk.

Take this opportunity to quantify your safety culture. This assessment is a great method for identifying specific ways you can improve your safety culture in 2015 and show off the results of your hard work in metrics your higher-ups will understand. Space is limited, so register soon!

Aid in Stress Management

Workers may be stressed by their jobs or for personal reasons—whatever the cause, you can help. Give workers the tools they need to keep stress under control by:

  • Ensuring adequate staffing. During your busiest seasons, hire extra help to get it all done rather than overload your existing staff.
  • Sticking to essentials. When things get hectic, ask whether some tasks can wait until business slows a little.
  • Being sensitive. If you recognize that a worker is exhibiting symptoms of stress, step in sooner rather than later to figure out whether you can help. Maybe you can encourage an employee who has taken on too much to scale back or delegate, or steer a worker having problems outside the workplace to your Employee Assistance Program.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at a simple wellness intervention that can make taking the stairs more attractive to your workers.

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