When companies deal with health and safety issues, they often consider the cost of safety supplies and equipment. Medical expenses and traditional health benefits often appear to be the most essential financial needs for safety departments and EHS professionals. Curiously enough, many employers overlook one of the simplest solutions of all - employee wellness.
Wellness refers to general strategies to make employees healthier. It offers a number of benefits, including reducing the cost of health insurance, reducing the severity of workplace injuries, and giving workers more energy and flexibility to do their jobs. In addition to personal protective equipment and comprehensive medical coverage, wellness can go a long way toward making workers safer.
It can be difficult to add up the savings that a wellness program will provide, but the Vermont Department of Health estimates that a workforce in poor health can indirectly cost a company two to three times what the direct medical costs would have been.
The level of effort that workers put into their jobs can also be greatly affected by wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Preventing Chronic Disease published a study of an Austin, Texas, company that started a wellness program in 2009. Besides increases in general health and fitness, the program was responsible for significant reductions in expenses caused by employee healthcare and absenteeism.
Absenteeism is when employees don't come to work for various health-related reasons. Seasonal illness, workplace injuries, and other causes of ill health are at the heart of absenteeism. Another important pitfall that workplaces must avoid is presenteeism, which is when staff members come to work when they're sick and transmit their illnesses to co-workers, leading to even greater absenteeism, reduced productivity, and higher costs.
Types of wellness programs
Quite a few of these programs are meant to reduce obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease among personnel. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Some organizations choose to include gym memberships and nutritionist consultations in employee benefits packages and encourage workers to use them. Others hold exercise clinics and sessions after work, either on company property or offsite.
Wellness programs can also be used to address another severe risk to employee health - tobacco use. Many workers who smoke have elevated risks for heart disease and high blood pressure. One way to address this issue is to ban smoking on premises. Companies could also choose to offer literature explaining the benefits of quitting or even provide medical discounts to workers who quit.
Safe and healthy workplaces
Wellness programs can be a good way for companies to provide additional compensation to their workers and can significantly reduce costs that are associated with medical insurance, absenteeism, and disability. Healthy work environments will also be much more productive and will promote a strong ethic of fitness and safety to all workers.
For the 1,284,700 warehouse workers across the United States, there are many ways to help avoid common accidents at the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines the following tips to improve warehouse safety:
• Training. Ensure employees are trained on ergonomics, proper lifting technique, safe truck operation, PPE, and chemical safety, including chemical hazards, reading safety data sheets and labels, and safety precautions. Teach ways to reduce the risk of heat stress or cold-related conditions if workers labor in hot or cold environments. Thoroughly document all training
• Scheduling. When determining time requirements for tasks, factor safety practices and periodic rests for employees performing physical labor
• Chemical safety. Provide an up-to-date list of chemical hazards present in the facility. When handling chemicals, make sure workers wear appropriate PPE, like gloves, safety glasses or goggles, protective clothing, and respiratory protection. Properly label all chemicals and store according to manufacturer recommendations and fire codes
• Ventilation. Ensure the warehouse is properly ventilated to reduce hazards from engine exhaust and gassing batteries
• Falls. Rope off or block loading docks and other zones where workers could fall more than four feet. Clear aisles and floors of hoses, cords, spilt materials, clutter, and other hazards to reduce tripping. Install guard rails or covers to block stair openings
• Powered machinery. Implement proper lockout tagout processes
• Falling objects. Store product and materials in tiers, stacked properly by blocking, interlocking, and limiting pile height
• Clearance. Properly mark appropriate safe clearances for loading docks, aisles, and passageways where equipment for mechanical handling or lifting is in use
• Lifting machines. Use correct signals when lifting with hoists and elevators
• Forklifts. All forklifts should meet the requirements in American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks, Part II ANSI B56.1-1969. Ensure operators follow all driving safety protocols and provide each operator with a performance evaluation every three years at minimum. Examine each truck before use
• Forklift batteries. Charge batteries only in designated areas. Post safety signs to remind workers to refrain from smoking in the area and to keep tools and metal items away from uncovered batteries. Provide appropriate equipment for handling batteries
Keep employees safe in the warehouse and help reduce injuries by providing frequent training, reminders, and the appropriate safety supplies.
Microflex® Diamond Grip Plus™ 6 Mil Powder-Free 9" latex exam gloves give employees comfortable hand protection that ensures a secure grip, while the 6.3 mil construction provides durability.
The disposable, latex gloves provide workers the dexterity needed to complete jobs safely. Microflex® Diamond Grip Plus™ 6 Mil Powder-Free 9" Latex Exam Gloves are not only tear-resistant, but also feature an extended beaded cuff for increased wrist protection and added strength.
What sets these work gloves apart from other brands is the advanced glove strength and wrist protection. The contoured design of these work gloves provides all day comfort workers will appreciate. Exam gloves are powder-free and specially formulated to reduce the risk of a painful reaction to latex.
Improve workplace safety and reduce health and injury risks with the Microflex® Diamond Grip Plus™ 6 Mil Powder-Free 9" Latex Exam Gloves.
Protect employees’ eyes from splashes by providing convenient goggles that fit over most prescription eyeglasses. Designed to deliver outstanding eye protection without impairing workers’ vision, these goggles are a great choice for most workplaces.
Made from soft PVC for exceptional comfort, N-Specs® Anti-Fog Liquid Splash Protection Safety Goggles feature indirect venting that safeguards eyes against liquid and chemical splash. A fog-free polycarbonate lens ensures the goggles stay clear and won’t interfere with work. A wider elastic headband provides a comfortable fit and helps keep them in place. They meet ANSI requirements and are manufactured in an ISO 9002 Registered facility.
This versatile eye protection works well for employees with or without prescription glasses and is great for almost any type of work environment. Stock up on N-Specs® anti-fog safety goggles and keep the workplace safe and visible when employees work with hazardous liquids.
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