Our jobs form a significant part of our social, professional, and personal identity. Not only do they give our life purpose and meaning, but it is how we put food on the table, care for our loved ones and ensure that the rainy-day pot stays full. Since a major chunk of our waking hours is spent at the workplace, its environment and ambiance significantly impact our psychological and physical well-being.
Why is Health at Work Important?
Every occupation comes with demands of its own. But certain professions like construction, engineering, farming, mining, metal and furniture work, or jobs in the healthcare force tend to be more strenuous than others. These workers spend hours around radioactive fumes, toxic pollutants, and carcinogens. They come in contact with live organisms, infected patients, bacterial or viral pathogens, all of which are factors that have long been linked to severe health disorders.
Any mental or physical illness, injury, or disorders that arise due to workplace exposure to hazardous physical, chemical, or biological agents is termed an occupational illness. The government seriously frowned upon such negligence on the employer’s part, which has put many laws to ensure workplace safety and well-being. As per the existing OSHA act, every organization must prioritize the health of their workers, observe relevant precautions, and abandon any practice that poses fatal risks. Failure to do so makes the company liable to a fine paid to the victim or their family as compensation. This legal aid is intended to help the afflicted individual seek proper medical care while reducing their financial burden during recovery. As a result, employees’ wellness in the workplace should be a top priority and should not be overlooked. To get you started, we have compiled a list of a few ways you can keep the health of your workers in constant check.
Ways To Nurture Employee Health:
Perhaps the key to protection is awareness and education. When you know what you’re up against, you can take appropriate measures to safeguard employee safety. Workplace inspections are critical of the overall Occupational Health and Safety Program. They allow organizations to identify and record existing hazards for corrective action and prevent illnesses or injuries in the long run. Being repeatedly exposed to even small amounts of toxins has triggered mutations within health cells and has severe health repercussions. Members of the state’s Health and Safety Committee conduct the inspection. They begin by listening to the problems of both employees and employers. They must be aware of the needs of the job and pay attention to all aspects of the workplace, including people, the environment, equipment, and processes. Next, they regulate the place inside-out and check for existing or potential hazards. If any are identified, they must unravel the underlying cause to eradicate or manage the problem. Once the inspection is completed, a plan with new protocols, controls, and procedures is enforced to ensure that the hazard is controlled, the risk is managed, and workers are protected.
Physical Health Assessment:
Preventive and primary healthcare isn’t a luxury but a necessity to invest in regardless of age or gender. As the leader of your organization, you must ensure the well-being of those under you, recognize what’s making them feel physically unfit, and make alterations to adjust to their needs. If an employee suffers from a physical ailment, their performance and ability to manage work responsibilities are significantly lower. Scheduling medical checkups now and then will allow you to evaluate and monitor potential health risks that might restrict your candidates or hinder their performance. These assessments are especially important for certain industries where employees must deal with vulnerable or under-aged populations and workers in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare. The checkup involves a general screening and some basic blood work to assess candidates’ current physical health. Whether they’re fit to continue working if their illness can be attributed to their occupation, and provide risk-based recommendations. These checkups are necessary because they:
- Boost employee morale and productivity
- Ensure worker’s safety and check whether a candidate is fit to be hired
- Maintain medical records and proofs in case of an insurance claim
One basic preventative measure all employers must take is to provide their workers with personal protective equipment free of cost. PPE is gear that serves as an added layer of protection and creates a barrier against external hazards to protect workers from sudden accidents or injuries. Each occupation has risks and demands of its own. Therefore different professions require a different form of PPE.
- Workers exposed to toxic pollutants, sawdust, radioactive fumes, carcinogenic gasses, and dust particles that can be inhaled can develop chronic respiratory disorders. They must be given PPE like filtering face masks, face-covering hoods, visors, and independent breathing devices.
- Long-term exposure to high-pitched noises, vibrations, ototoxic chemicals, and sounds above 80 dB can lead to permanent deafness. Workers must be provided with earmuffs, plugs that seal the air canal, canal caps, and semi-inserts.
- Operating heavy machinery and tackling huge loads increase the risk for head trauma. Especially for those working in excavation or tunnels, build and repair, mining, and construction. In such cases, Industrial safety helmets, hard caps, scalp protectors, and bump caps are essential.
- Welding, the use of lasers or radioactive gases and vapors, dangerous substances with a risk of splashing, or power-driven instruments are all examples. Also, any task involving the propulsion of objects poses a danger of eye injury. At these jobs, safety goggles or spectacles, visors, eye shields, or all-over face shields are required.
- Similarly, those who manage hazardous waste work on highways or construction sites with moving vehicles and deal with outdoor, forestry, or ground maintenance work. They must be provided with coveralls, thermal clothing, clothing to protect against heavy machinery, high-visibility jackets, harnesses, and life jackets for their safety.
It may not sound all that important. But when it comes to general well-being, mental health is as important as an individual’s physical health. A healthy organization provides workers with flexible working hours, gives them room to create their schedules, and establishes a healthy work-life balance. While tirelessly working is an admirable trait, excelling in any career requires one to have a balance. Research has proven that working on a rigid schedule without any breaks is counterproductive and can lead to burnout. A healthy work-life balance is critical for psychological health, relationships, performance, and productivity. Work is an important aspect of life, but that is just only a “part.” To live truly fulfilling lives and be content, one must prioritize all aspects equally, be it family, friends, hobbies, and, most importantly, themselves.
A rigid schedule where workers must only focus on the job leads to loss of motivation, burnout, emotional drainage and will make their days feel like a chore. Instead, help workers establish a good medium. Allow them to utilize their paid time off to refresh and rejuvenate by spending quality time with family members or friends, planning a vacation, or even some me-time. They’ll come back feeling refreshed, with a new sense of purpose and, most of all, respect and admiration for their leader.
Anyone can appoint a company’s CEO. Still, becoming a leader that others admire and desire to follow necessitates empathy, compassion, and patience. If you intend to lead your organization with respect and trust, you must look out for all those under you at all costs. Remember, employees, make the foundation of an organization. If they feel a sense of belonging, respected, and taken care of, they are bound to work with dedication and consistency, ultimately enabling your institution to thrive.