Integrating Employee Health, Safety and Well-being
A holistic approach to well-being that includes workplace interventions to protect safety, as well as initiatives that advance employee well-being, is the gold standard in corporate wellness. No matter what industry your organization is in -- financial, technology, life sciences, education, healthcare or another sector -- integrating your programs to keep your employees safe and healthy will pay dividends.
It’s important to understand the connection between health, safety and wellness because there is a proven link between employee wellness and work-related injuries. Consider these facts:
- Smokers are 40 percent more likely to have a work-related injury. - Diabetics have five times higher workers’ compensation medical costs when injured. - Employees with a BMI greater than 40 have medical expenses that are 42 percent higher, twice as many work injury claims, workers compensation medical costs that are seven times higher and indemnity costs that are 11 times higher.
There are in fact eight risk factors that drive productivity loss: back pain, depression, stress, inactivity, failure to use a seat belt, tobacco use, a BMI greater than 25 and alcohol abuse. So, what can employers do to prevent work-related accidents while promoting employee well-being?
Work-related injuries can be reduced by developing and implementing an effective accident prevention and wellness program that covers all areas of safety and well-being. For example, conducting pre-placement physicals provides an opportunity to screen applicants and match them with positions that fit their physical capabilities; while researching the safety vulnerabilities at your organization can help you develop strategies to prevent accidents that are specific to your workplace. As part of your strategy, it’s also important to educate and train employees and management about proper safety procedures and to reinforce safety measures whenever you can -- at company meetings, in newsletters, in posters placed strategically around your workplace. When these safety initiatives are combined with a robust wellness program that helps employees make healthy behavior changes, it is a win-win for your organization. When developing your wellness program, keep in mind that the top lifestyle factors that promote safety and well-being are nutrition, physical activity, social connections and sleep. Make sure these initiatives are incorporated into your program. To learn more about developing a successful wellness program, read our blog posts outlining the 10 elements of a successful wellness program: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.