Corporate Wellness & Safety Tips
Welcome to Safe Friday, since June is National Safety Month, this week we’re going to cover the ins and outs of corporate wellness and safety. Whether you’re an experienced professional, or new on the job, today we’re going to offer something for everyone!
According to Daniel R. Nobbe, Plant Leader, Fiberteq LLC, Danville, IL., “There are many benefits from developing a safety culture at your company — none of which is more valuable than employee loyalty. When employees know you care about their personal well-being and you prove that to them in their workplace, it increases morale, engagement, awareness, motivation and productivity.” (Source: National Safety Council)
With that mind, the safety and health of all employees of your company should be of utmost importance. The best Corporate Wellness Program we can recommend is an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Preventing work related injuries and illnesses must be given precedence over operating productivity, whenever necessary. To the best extent possible, leadership within your company should provide all the mechanical and physical protection necessary for personnel safety and health. In addition, your workers should also know and follow their duties and responsibilities to protect the safety of themselves and their co-workers.
Implementing Injury & Illness Prevention Programs (IIPPs)
The first portion of an IIPP should be designating safety leaders with formal safety responsibilities.
Knowing Responsibilities: All your employees need to know the safety rules and conduct their work in compliance with them. Disregarding any of the safety and health rules should be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as the future of your business and the wellbeing of your workers is on the line. Your employees must also make full use of the safeguards provided for their protection. All of your employees should receive an orientation when hired and receive a copy of your company’s Injury and Illness Programs.
- Reading, understanding, and following the safety and health rules and procedures
- Wearing PPE at all times when working in areas where there is a possible danger of injury
- Wearing suitable work clothes as determined by the supervisor/foreman
- Performing all tasks safely as directed by their supervisor/foreman
- Reporting ALL injuries, no matter how slight, immediately and seeking treatment promptly
- Knowing the location of first aid, firefighting equipment, and safety devices
- Attending all required safety and health meetings
- Not performing potentially hazardous tasks, or using any hazardous material until properly trained, and following all safety procedures for those tasks
- When in doubt, stop and ask questions
Communication Systems: All your employees should be encouraged to inform the management about workplace hazards without fear of reprisal. Workers should also be encouraged to regularly check the safety bulletin board to review current and relevant safety information.
Hazard Identification and Control: Your company should perform periodic inspections and have procedures of identifying existing or potential hazards in the workplace and eliminating or controlling them. Hazards, where possible, must be corrected as soon as they are identified. When hazards can’t be immediately corrected, a target date for correction should be set. Your company should also provide interim protection for workers while hazards are being corrected. A written tracking system should be established to help monitor the progress of the hazard correction process.
Accident/Incident Investigations: Accidents/Incidents must be investigated by trained individuals to understand why the accident or incident occurred, and what actions can be taken to prevent a recurrence. The focus needs to be on solutions and never on blame. Reports of the incident must be in writing and identify the causes of the accident or near miss occurrence.
Training: Your injury and illness prevention plan must include training and instruction when employees are first hired, for all new employees for each specific task, and for all employees given new job assignments for which training has not already been received.
Periodic Program Evaluation: Your company should conduct periodic reviews of each critical component of your IIPP to determine what is working well and what changes may be needed. All employees should be encouraged to participate by keeping your company informed of their concerns regarding the elements of this safety and health plan.
Your company’s goal should be zero accidents and injuries. To achieve this, your management, supervisors, and workers must all cooperate in effectively implementing the Injury and Illness Prevention Program set by your company.
Thinking About Safety
From a corporate wellness and safety perspective, freedom from danger is a wonderful concept, but to make that goal a reality requires considerable planning, training, commitment, management skills, and above all thinking about safety. Thinking through and applying safety and health programs is an effective method of identifying and correcting workplace safety and health hazards.
When thinking about safety you should consider:
- Are you using the appropriate personal protective equipment for the job?
- Have the potential hazards in the workplace been identified?
- Is there a plan in place on how to avoid injury, and are there first aid procedures in case of injury?
- Are you educated, trained and experienced to perform your job safely?
- Are others trained and experienced to handle or use chemicals or other harmful substances in a safe manner?
- Is there an emergency action plan in place, and is everyone familiar with proper emergency procedures?
- Make sure you know the regulations that apply to your work environment and how to comply with them
Your corporate wellness and safety plan should cover the following subjects:
- Your company’s safety policy and procedures
- Understanding hazards and how to recognize and control them
- Specific training required for the job
- Emergency Action plan in case of an emergency
- Protective measures to prevent or minimize exposure to hazards
- A fall protection program (if appropriate)
- Accident and incident investigation plan
- A hazard communication program for any materials present
- Personal protective equipment training
- A lockout/tagout program
- Equipment and power tool guarding policy
- Fire prevention techniques and procedure
- Personal protective equipment requirements and training
- Workplace violence and sexual harassment
Take a moment to think about your equipment and machinery:
- Are only qualified employees allowed to operate equipment and machinery?
- Is the use of any machine, tool, material, or equipment that’s damaged or defective prohibited?
- Are machines, tools, material, or equipment that’s identified as unsafe by locking and tagging, or physically removed from the jobsite?
- Are only authorized, competent employees permitted to perform repairs?
Think about hazard evaluations: Successful corporate wellness and safety programs must provide frequent and regular inspections of the materials, operating procedures, PPE, job-site conditions, emergency procedures, safe work practices, hazard communication program (including SDS sheets), and equipment.
To reduce job-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses, take a proactive approach to safety, and think about how to work safely. Having an effective safety and health program will ensure you’re OSHA compliant and show your commitment to safety.
Managing Workplace Stress
We live in a fast-paced society that prides itself in an honest hard day’s work. However, in this new society, it’s not uncommon to work longer hours, deal with extremely competitive pressures, drive farther to work, and be equally busy on the weekend and evenings. All of these pressures and time constraints can create a stress-filled life that can spill over into the workplace, hindering corporate wellness. There are several physical hazards associated with excess stress.
Medically, you can suffer from:
- High blood pressure
Psychologically, you can suffer from:
- Anger, frustration and irritability
- Impatience and worry
- Reduced self-confidence
- Addictive behavior
The following occupational hazards can result due to stress:
- Developing nervous habits (i.e. nail-biting)
- Obsessive compulsiveness
- The inability to get along with others
- Accidents due to loss of concentration
- Propensity toward vulgarity and/or violence
- Exceptional irritability and irrational behavior
- Loss of concentration and apathy toward work
- Abusing drugs, alcohol, or other sedating substances
- Over competitiveness resulting in a negative work atmosphere
- Being rushed and never completing the task completely or correctly
Stress, experienced over a prolonged period, or on a regular basis, is recognized as a significant health hazard. Aside from the immediate effects mentioned before, it can lead to a general deterioration of health and wellness over time. Stress can cause physical symptoms even though no physical disease may exist.
The body responds physiologically to emotional stress. For example, stress can cause anxiety, which then triggers the nervous system and hormones to speed up the heart rate and to increase blood pressure and sweating. Stress can also cause muscle tension, leading to pain in the neck, back, head or elsewhere.
Here are some guidelines to help you cope with stress:
- Share your stressful situation with a friend, spouse or co-worker; this can help to relieve stress
- Don’t make dramatic lifestyle changes in the midst of a stressful situation. Your decision may increase the instability of your situation and your judgment is often impaired by the stress
- Always take time to eat, and avoid working too many days without a day off
- Get enough exercise, sleep, and maintain a proper diet. Prioritize your day so that you schedule a good night of sleep
- Practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques
- Avoid addictive substance. It’s common for people to turn to legal and illegal substances to aid in tension relief. Under stress, it becomes easy to abuse such substances, which may lead to addiction
- When possible, delegate your workload at work and at home. Remember that no one can do everything
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulating substances
- Prioritize and plan your day (including an end time). Your work will always be there in the morning
Take the time to schedule your day so that you are implementing proper stress-reducing techniques. Taking care of yourself and your workers will allow you to lead a happy, healthy life, both in and out of work.
Managing Fatigue in the Workplace
Fatigue on the job can be very dangerous. The inability to continue work at the level you’re used to is not only harmful to you, but also your co-workers. Use the following fatigue management tips to stay safe and promote corporate wellness.
Initial and annual training will be provided to all employees on how to:
- Recognize fatigue
- Control fatigue through appropriate work and personal habits,
- Reporting of fatigue to supervision
Control of Worker Fatigue
- To control worker fatigue, allow for sufficient sleep, and increase mental fitness
- The company will set work hour limitations and will control job rotation schedules
Use equipment to prevent fatigue, such as:
- Anti fatigue mats for standing
- Lift assist devices for repetitive lifting
- Ergonomic workstations or other devices as deemed appropriate
- Chairs to sit in periodically
Reporting Fatigue & Tiredness
- All employees feeling fatigue, tiredness or lack of mental acuity must report to their supervisor immediately
- Supervision must take appropriate actions to prevent loss
- Take the provided periodic rest breaks
- Personnel will also be periodically evaluated to improve work tasks and to control fatigue
Over-the-Counter & Prescription Drugs
- Employees must not use over-the-counter or prescription drugs to increase mental alertness
- All employees are discouraged from taking any substance known to increase fatigue, including fatigue that sets in after the effects of the drug wears off
Your safety on the job is of critical. Fatigue prevention is almost always possible. Paying attention to the signs that your body is telling you and following the procedures of the fatigue management program will keep you safe at work.
➩We have corporate wellness and safety solutions for all your needs. Call (877) 640-6571 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts.
Please join us next Friday for more National Safety Month tips!