Experiencing stress on the job is common. Reasons can vary, but what matters are the repercussions – it can take a toll on the employees, both physically and emotionally.
Lately, the topic of mind-body wellness programs has become a sought after trend. Industries have now realized that a healthy and happy workforce translates into well-engaged employees and a business culture that thrives. And as safety week is around the corner, safety programs, held within their premises, are a change for the employees.
4th March to 10th March, is celebrated as National Safety week by the National Safety Council of India. The week provides an opportunity for the employers to gain employees’ attention, elevate understanding of company safety policies and procedures and motivates them to be a part of the solution in achieving and maintaining a safe environment.
The theme for the safety week 2020 is road safety – and initiatives for the same have already begun. ASK-EHS has recently developed an E-learning course for ‘Defensive driving’ to promote safe driving on-road.
If we talk about industries, the nature of work is changing at a rapid pace and stress can have various origins or come from just one aspect of worker’s responsibilities e.g. in the service sector, employees need to respond to the demands as and when they occur. Although the first line of defense against such stress are better risk assessments and safety analysis which then translates into preventive measures as well as safety barriers in place, organizations should educate employees on the wider benefits of OHS-EHS compliance.
At a workplace, initiatives like above provide opportunities for professional development, emphasize on safety and encourage participation in decision making.
EHS professionals can provide an overview of their dynamic industrial work environment– safety tours can be organized for the employees in groups. They can be introduced to different work areas, their hazards, risks, and preventive measures. This provides value to safety and creates knowledge-sharing touchpoints for their employees. A hazard reporting system can be implemented, where workers report hazards they perceive in their premises. (Can be as simple as providing a dedicated e-mail address)
Train workers outside their job profile – make them part of PPE inspections for their teams and vehicles and explain them the basics. Try reducing their mental stress by offering them opportunities to be creative. These can be designing safety posters, creating safety slogans, promoting safety acts etc.
The safety week is ideal to create awareness of disease spreads – recently, the outbreak of coronavirus has created distress in many parts of the world. Industries can contribute their bit by issuing health advisories for their employees where instructions are given in line with their work patterns and schedules. Region-specific diseases and infections can be targeted e.g. for the Indian subcontinent, companies can arrange no-to-low cost hepatitis shots to prevent ailments. All of these efforts validate their commitment to a safe and healthy workforce.
Throughout the safety week, leaders can exhibit top-down commitment and attend safety-specific meetings, have mental health discussions with foremen and other crew members.
Employees can effectively voice their concerns and interact, and viable solutions can be brainstormed.
Weaving safety through safety programs tie us together and unite us behind a common imperative. Moreover, it dramatically benefits attendees in both their work and personal lives, acts as stress-busters and enhances resilience and productivity on job.
Staff retreats and team building activities in these programs help co-workers build relationships – trust is the basis of a positive work environment and can be a valuable buffer against the negative effects of stress. A harsh and uninviting workplace can be a deterrent to productivity and mental health of those working in it, and hence needs to be taken care of.