Combining Safety and Wellness to Produce Positive Results
Safety and wellness are critical programs employers should provide for their workforce, but they’re often handled separately. Although safety and wellness programs impact the same employee population, there are some distinct differences:
These programs are common in the manufacturing space and are established to help manage the potential for injury for on-the job-exposures. Safety programs are required by OSHA and sometimes this is the initial reason employers initiate such programs. Typically, they’re managed by a safety director or human resources. The programs are mandatory for employees and are enforceable as a basic term of employment.
These programs are becoming more popular in the manufacturing industry. They promote healthy behaviors such as eating habits, weight management, smoking cessation, health checkups and other activities affecting the health of employees. Wellness programs are not government required but are recommended and considered “best practice” for companies interested in managing health insurance cost and increasing employee health. They’re voluntary for employees to participate in and require engagement to be successful.
Combining Safety and Wellness
Safety and wellness programs have many areas of “mutual impact” which ultimately provides a real benefit to the employees and your bottom line. These areas of impact can drive reduction in injuries and illness and ultimately positively impact related insurance premiums. Some areas of mutual impact include:
- Back Injury Prevention
This can be addressed as a safety program focusing on ergonomic improvements and employee training related to proper body mechanics. The wellness approach focuses on obesity reduction of the workforce which greatly increases the potential for a back injury and other medical complications, requiring significant health care costs.
- High Blood Pressure and Stress
This impacts both safe behavior and decision making on the job, as well as significant health issues. This health issue can minimize the effectiveness of safety training and also spike use of health care services.
Many larger organizations have already engaged with combining safety and wellness programs, including IBM, Dell, Dow Chemical, Proctor & Gamble among others. Large organizations, such as the ones listed, often have resources beyond that of a middle market company. However, establishing corporate goals on combining safety and wellness programs does not have to be a significant financial investment. Achieving these goals is often driven by employee engagement and will likely show significant positive impact on bottom lines for the mid-sized employer, particularly in the manufacturing industry.
- Wellness & Safety Programs: What's the Correlation? Webinar Replay
- How to Create a Safety Culture Webinar Replay
- Using Incentives in Wellness Programs
- Safety E-Book
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