Shared Safety: The New Connection Between Safety and Wellness
Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace not only prevents injury and illness, and the costs related to both, but also reduces absenteeism and turnover, increases productivity and work quality, and improves employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business. Furthermore, the integration of safety and wellness, with the promotion of positive well-being, is even better for business.
Well-being at work means employees are working in conditions that promote mental and physical health, connectedness and resilience. This relates to all aspects of working life, from the quality and safety of the physical environment, to how employees feel about their work, their working environment, the climate at work and work organization. The term for this is “shared safety.”
An organization’s commitment to “shared safety” relies on a work environment that inspires every employee to prioritize self-care and fosters utilization of readily available resources including union benefits, EAP (employee assistance programs), primary care, ongoing training and onsite coaching. A culture that dynamically promotes and supports employee self-efficacy to identify and adopt healthy sustainable behaviors is an organization that believes that safety and well-being are intertwined and that these must be viewed cohesively rather than as separate entities. Construction and other manufacturing groups have long accepted safety as a priority but being “well at work” means that we feed and hydrate ourselves, relieve stress, move our bodies, relax, socialize, and take time to rest and rejuvenate as these all relate to overall safety and well-being.
How do successful companies utilize wellness as a differentiator in the marketplace, especially now that massive sweeping changes are needed to address/help with employee burnout and fatigue?
A well-rounded approach that covers all pillars of wellness, including nutrition, physical activity, stress management, behavioral health and financial wellness is more essential than ever. Weaving well-being into the flow of work starts with small changes from individuals, teams, leaders and the organization and builds over time. It takes a comprehensive strategy endorsed by compassionate leadership, keenly recognizing that we are all in this together.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Train your leadership and EHS personnel about the signs and symptoms of unhealthy patterns and behaviors
Educate your workforce about available resources BEFORE they need them
Celebrate national awareness days to educate your teams about various chronic conditions (Great American Smokeout, Diabetes Month, Hard Hats With Heart, etc.)
Plan a monthly or quarterly stand-down or coffee break with a focus on well-being
Present a wellness tip at each morning huddle
Looking for strategic direction and customization for your safety program? Consider partnering with a wellness vendor with expertise in designing initiatives to maximize employee engagement and achieve your desired outcomes. Wellness Workdays can help you design a wellness program that combines traditional wellness and safety. Contact us to learn more.