Ten Tips for Integrating Employee Health and Safety
Work Safe, Texas Blog
What do safety goggles and a good night's rest have in common? Both can protect a worker from the serious consequences of a workplace injury. Employee wellness and safety, traditionally considered mutually exclusive, have overlapping goals, and wellness is proving its value in the workplace.
By breaking down the silos between the two functions, employers can reap the benefits of lower workers' compensation and health insurance costs, increased productivity and improved morale.
Read 10 tips for integrating employee wellness and safety below, and find a bonus tip on our wellness grant program, which opens for applications in early November.
Tip 1: Involve employees. Invite employees to help design, plan, implement and evaluate safety and wellness programs. Forming a committee of representatives from all levels of the organization can encourage employment engagement.
Tip 2: Involve management. Emphasize the financial impact and make a business case for safety and wellness programs. Collaborate with front-line management to identify potential conflicts between program activities and production goals.
Tip 3: Develop a clear plan with adequate resources. Set well-defined goals and commit the time and money necessary to achieve them. If funding is an issue, set smaller initial goals with the intention of scaling up after you have established the programs' value.
Tip 4: Integrate systems. Encourage communication between human resources, safety and other departments that have employee health responsibilities. Communication allows the departments to explore potential areas of collaboration.
Tip 5: Focus on organizational solutions. Explore strategies that support employees' efforts to change their behaviors. For example, provide healthy snacks in your workplace to support your wellness program's nutrition initiative.
Tip 6: Customize your design. Each employer has a unique workplace and workforce. Customize your programs to address the hazards specific to your organization.
Tip 7: Provide appropriate incentives. Financial incentives can improve employee participation in wellness programs. Your incentives should reward safe and healthy behaviors rather than punishing employees for becoming sick or injured.
Tip 8: Protect confidentiality. You must protect employee privacy to ensure compliance with legal requirements, such as HIPPA and the ADA. Confidentiality may also encourage employee participation. Consider using online or third-party providers to minimize the health information collected by your company.
Tip 9: Stay flexible. Your workforce will change over time. Periodically adjust your program to continue meeting your employees' needs.
Tip 10: Evaluate your programs. Continuously evaluate your programs' effectiveness based on the goals you established in tip 3, and share the results with employees and management. Try to evaluate using return on investment if possible. Look for reductions in sick leave use, absenteeism, employee turnover and health care claims.
For a "Bonus Tip," visit texasmutual.com/grants to read more about Texas Mutual's wellness grant to help policyholders' employees reach weight loss goals.
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Disclaimer: WorkersCompensation.com publishes independently generated writings from a variety of workers' compensation industry stakeholders. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WorkersCompensation.com.