Integrating employee health and workplace safety can have a positive impact on corporate performance because of the strong association between lifestyle risks and medical conditions with absence and workplace safety. Unfortunately, it is difficult to realize the benefits of integration when employee safety, occupational health and absence are managed by separate departments and involve multiple vendor partners.
Some companies have made significant progress toward integrating occupational health and safety programs. One example is featured below.
In this work setting, employees must work in tight spaces and frequently lift heavy objects. To help avoid workplace injury while improving physical and mental resilience, the company created a voluntary program that offers three primary services based upon individual employee needs:
Is aimed at employees who are starting or already performing physically demanding and/or repetitive jobs. It includes customized strengthening and stretching exercises to improve stability, balance and flexibility. The group classes are done on the clock during every shift.
Is designed for employees who have not yet been injured to the point of needing medical care and/or filing a claim, but who are experiencing mild discomfort. Symptom intervention services include factory-based assessment and athletic training services as well as deep tissue intervention and job site assessment. The goal is to help employees eliminate physical discomfort before it becomes a full-blown injury.
Is an on-the-clock intensive rehabilitation program offered through workers’ compensation for individuals returning from a work-related injury. This program is intended to increase the work capacity of employees returning from a leave, and to promote a successful return to work. The program delivers closely supervised and customized physical conditioning exercises including work simulation tasks and safety education that can last two to eight hours a day for two to eight weeks. The goal is to get the employee back to his or her original, pre-injury level of performance.
For more information on companies that have successfully integrated worker health and safety, see the employer examples section of Integrating Wellness and Occupational Health and Safety in the Workplace. The full health and safety toolkit provides additional resources for creating an integrated health and safety program.