5 Top Reasons Why Occupational Health and Safety Should Be a Part of Employee Wellness Programs

5 Top Reasons Why Occupational Health and Safety Should Be a Part of Employee Wellness Programs

Typically, wellbeing is the pursuit for growing balance in all the different holistic health dimensions. Until a few years ago, ‘wellness’ only pertained to physical health. And so, the employee wellness programs and benefits packages also focused on physical health only. However, many studies have shown the impact of different parameters on employee wellness and productivity. These parameters are together called the – Holistic Wellbeing Dimensions.

Ideally, there are 9 holistic health dimensions contributing to overall employee wellbeing and better quality of life.

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Intellectual
  • Environmental
  • Occupational
  • Cultural
  • Spiritual

One of the most important yet often ignored workplace wellbeing dimensions is – Occupational Health and Safety.

About Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is an element of workplace wellness services that focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. It emphasizes building safety, preventing injury, and illness control to ensure employee wellbeing.

Workplace wellness programs that focus on occupational health and safety address common issues like – 

  • Physical hazards
  • Chemical hazards
  • Ergonomic issues
  • Psychological repercussions
  • Accidents
  • Biological agents

Most organizations follow mandatory OHS standards to reduce, remove, or replace worksite hazards. Also, many employee wellness programs include specific initiatives for businesses of all sizes that ensure occupational wellbeing.

Apart from ensuring employee wellbeing and safety, OHS programs also offer many other workplace wellbeing benefits.

Here are a few common reasons why you should include occupational health and safety programs as a part of your workplace wellbeing programs.

1. Improves Workplace Productivity

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), companies lose almost $60 billion annually due to lost productivity caused due to employee injuries and illness. By focusing on employee wellbeing and safety, employers can save a lot on healthcare costs. Also, better workplace safety and wellbeing reflects reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates, boosted morale, and improve overall workplace productivity.

2. Encourages Healthy Lifestyle Habits

One of the key objectives of workplace wellness programs is to create a healthy workplace culture that improves employee holistic health. Corporate wellbeing programs with wellness challenges and activities can build a positive and conducive work environment that helps cultivate healthy lifestyle and working habits. Be it healthy eating challenges, step challenges, stress management, tobacco cessation, or disease prevention programs, practicing these activities can build healthy habits that improve employee wellbeing and reduce overall health risks.

3. Reduces Health Risk Factors

Prevention is always better than cure. Understanding the work environment and how the workforce functions can help build a healthy workplace culture that promotes employee wellbeing and safety. Most employers are now studying Ergonomics – the study behind designing a favorable workplace that supports employee wellbeing and workplace policies. Most ergonomic studies focus on improving the workplace to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injuries and other such conditions. These changes can include redesigning and adjusting work systems or tools, even in an optimal environment, to ensure employee safety and reduce health risks.

4. Early Detection of Health Issues

Health assessments and screenings facilitate early detection of any underlying health issues or potential risk factors. Early identification of these concerns can let employees seek the right guidance to prevent further complications, ensuring employee wellbeing and safety. Most robust workplace wellbeing programs include health assessments and biometric screenings as a part of their onboarding activities. Regular tracking of these screenings can give clear insights into employee health status and the cues to improve safety.

5. Better Access to Wellbeing Resources

In addition to the basic safety and wellbeing knowledge, many comprehensive employee wellness programs also provide access to different educational resources and tools that create awareness of all the holistic wellness dimensions. Also, employers can organize different workplace wellbeing and safety programs like annual flu shots, annual health screenings, health coaching, and more to help employees prevent risks and stay healthy.

“Health is Wealth”, and this stands true, especially for companies that encourage employee wellness and workplace safety. Occupational health and safety programs not only drop the risk of diseases or damage caused to employees but are also effective tools to attract and retain new talent. After all, who would not want to work well for a company that prioritizes employee wellbeing and workplace safety!