The Safety and Wellness Connection
June 2, 2017
The Safety/Wellness Connection
Wellness and Safety Departments have an abundance of shared goals and objectives, but many have yet to fully realize how dependent they are on each other to truly be successful. As each day passes, more and more evidence is published to demonstrate the undeniable connection between safety and wellness. As a result, it now well established that healthier workers are safer workers and vice versa. Many employers are quickly realizing that having both departments operating out of completely separate silos, without regular collaboration, is certainly not the best approach to capitalize on this connection. Instead, the successful organizations assure both departments recognize their many common interests and work together to support each other’s initiatives to maximize outcomes and results.
Opportunities to Create Synergies
Safety Departments aim for a “culture of safety” while Wellness Departments work toward a “culture of health.” How can a company build a combined approach? The answer is to adopt a “culture of well-being” that integrates health protection and health promotion. This “culture of well-being” should integrate those workplace safety and wellness programs that have overlapping goals and objectives. The approach also avoids having mixed messages coming from multiple departments. Employees can more easily see the connection and better understand how safety and wellness all fits together.
Preserving health, and avoiding injury go together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Here are a few examples where collaboration makes perfect sense.
- Musculoskeletal – More than a pain in the neck, sore muscles, achy joints, or injured backs are just the tip of the iceberg. These injuries are the number one cause of lost productivity for employers and high in loss of quality of life for employees. Risk factors include repetitive motion, being overweight, physical inactivity, not practicing proper lifting and even smoking, which slows the healing process and can cause a loss of bone mineral content.
- Stress – A stressed worker is more likely to be distracted, which can lead to injuries, accidents, overeating, excessive drinking and other negative effects on the body.
- Lack of Sleep – From a safety point of view, a tired worker is more prone to accidents and making mistakes. Wellness-related side effects of poor sleep include craving fatty foods, being too tired to exercise and releasing cortisol, a hormone that leads to weight gain.
An on-site wellness coach will help to bridge the gap between safety and wellness. The coach can also act as a liaison between the wellness and safety departments to help identify synergies and coordinate common interests and goals. Most importantly, coaches will help employees improve the risky health and safety behaviors that have a profound impact on the healthcare and workers comp costs and lost productivity of the organization. Contact Wellness Coaches to learn more about how our onsite coaches can help you improve the health, safety and well-being of your company.