Safetip #54: Connect Safety with Workplace Wellness
Employee Health and Wellbeing Are Gaining Traction in EHS
The Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council (NSC) recently released a white paper entitled Workplace Wellbeing: Bridging Safety and Health. According to the Campbell Institute, employee health and wellbeing are quickly gaining momentum in EHS. Research, medical, and academic groups are pioneering the concept of integrated safety and health. A true culture of safety and health depends not only on a strong safety program, but also on a program that focuses on workplace wellness, the Campbell Institute says.
As part of the white paper, nine organizations were interviewed about the development, implementation, and lessons learned of workplace wellbeing and safety initiatives. The research provides five key takeaways, including “Connect wellbeing to safety”.
Wellness Helps to Work Better and Safer
A safety department and a workplace wellness department may be separate entities inside an organization, but members of the Campbell Institute that were part of the research have informally connected them by communicating to workers that both physical and mental wellness enable employees to work better and safer. The white paper connects safety and wellbeing, and says that being proactive about health is similar to performing preventive maintenance on machinery: “both actions allow workers to read trends and keep up with changes so that there are no surprises or catastrophes down the line”.
For one research participant, their medical monitoring program began purely as a safety initiative, but now has clear ties to wellness. Monitoring health numbers and acting quickly when there’s an issue has helped workers stay safe on the job, in addition to being healthy, thus avoiding absenteeism, presenteeism, and days of restricted work. Another participant connected safety with health from an ergonomic perspective through a new “metapostures” program that teaches employees to stretch in ways that strengthen muscles and helps joints.
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