Keeping your employees safe involves more than just preparing emergency response plans. While it’s vital to develop protocols for crisis situations, such as fires, severe weather and active shooters, it’s just as essential to protect your workers from occupational illnesses and injuries. By incorporating health and wellness topics into your safety training schedule, you can ensure your workers have the information and tools they need to protect themselves and each other.
Why is health and wellness training important?
Occupational illnesses and injuries are fairly common, and they can have significant personal and financial consequences. According to the National Safety Council, there were 4,113 preventable work deaths in the U.S. in 2020. In the same year, there were 4 million medically consulted injuries that were work-related. The total cost of these occupational injuries and illnesses was $163.9 billion.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2021, there were 2.6 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. That number includes 365,200 nonfatal illnesses and 2.2 million injury cases. Over 1 million of those nonfatal injury and illness cases caused an employee to miss at least one day of work.
Health and wellness training topics
Several health and wellness topics are important for all types of organizations to cover:
- Illness and sick leave: Remind employees of the common signs of sickness, especially COVID-19 symptoms. Provide updated guidelines on testing and the use of sick leave, and encourage employees to stay home when they feel ill.
- Occupational injuries: Cover all relevant safety protocols for work-related activities (e.g., ladder safety, equipment operation and personal protective equipment (PPE) use). Don’t forget to discuss common office-work-related injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Encourage employees to take regular breaks during the day, and make sure all employees have access to PPE. Consider upgrading to ergonomic furniture and office supplies.
- Healthcare coverage: Consider asking an HR representative to cover health insurance plans and resources during health and wellness training. Make sure employees understand their health coverage and remind them of any additional resources, such as on-site fitness classes and mental health services.
- Personal wellness: Health and wellness isn’t limited to occupational safety. Employees who practice wellness at home tend to be less susceptible to workplace illnesses and injuries. Encourage employees to adopt healthy habits, such as good sleep, stress management, balanced nutrition and regular exercise.
There are many additional topics that organizations may choose to add to their health and wellness training. For example, schools and universities may need to train faculty on recognizing and responding to cyberbullying. Corporations in statistically dangerous industries (e.g. transportation, construction and hunting/fishing) may consider providing additional training on distracted driving, equipment safety and other relevant topics.
Give your workers the knowledge and tools to manage their health
A safe and healthy workforce is happier and more productive. Employers can help keep their workers safe by focusing on occupational safety along with emergency preparedness. For every fire drill and active shooter response plan, there should also be training and tools to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Additionally, training courses should cover preventative measures and encourage employees to manage all aspects of their health at work and at home.
Along with providing health and wellness training, employers must develop mechanisms for monitoring their workers’ physical and mental health. Rave Mobile Safety’s two-way communication tools simplify this process and give managers the tools they need to connect with employees via email, text and mobile apps.
With our communication solutions, managers can request status updates, provide sick leave guidance and quickly modify shift schedules as needed. Plus, mass notification systems ensure workers can receive emergency alerts and time-sensitive operational messages no matter where they are. To find out more about Rave Mobile Safety’s critical communication solutions, contact our team.