Safety and Health in the workplace is more than just accident prevention. A good safety program needs to look at and address all aspects of working conditions. When looking at safety and health in the workplace, we refer to the conditions as occupational in nature. So to identify just what occupational safety and health is, we break it down into separate components. The three overall components to address in your successful program are physical, mental and social safety.
Maintaining the well-being and physical safety of all workers and building occupants is the physical aspect of a program. Physical safety is critical in the occupational setting. There are hundreds of standards and publications to describe and define how to keep people physically safe at work. There are also hundreds of ways that employers train and educate employees on workplace safety. Physical safety is the first aspect that comes to mind when referring to a safety program. There are many other areas of well-being that need to be incorporate into a safety plan. Ones mental safety is also important.
Workers mental well-being must not be excluded. If people are physically safe, but mentally unhealthy and exhausted, problems are sure to arise. If you were to ask your employees just what is mental safety? you probably would be surprised at the lack of awareness in the area. In fact many employers are unaware of the importance. One of the best ways for an employer to access the workers mental stability is to review the call-ins or absenteeism rate. Sometimes a lack of respect for ones job will result in a lack of caring. When people don’t care, they could put themselves or others at risk for physically injuries.
Another area of mental safety at work is mental health of workers. Be aware of people and the anxieties that they face or are facing. Depression is on the rise and you may have workers that are battling stress and burnout situations at and away from work. Other serious mental health such as bi-polar disorder can negatively impact your work place and put workers in danger. Make sure that employees that may have a mental health condition manage it with a doctors approval. The next area of safety is that of ones social environment.
Some examples of an employee being socially unsafe is that of a hostile work environment. This takes on many forms. A hugely growing social environment is now online. The amount of time that workers spend online is huge. Although we think of online bullying as a teen problem, your company should enforce rules when it comes to just how much access workers have to internet resources. Passing on inappropriate content through emails or other electronic means can become inappropriate and led to socially unacceptable behavior. This topic should be addressed in yearly training.
Another socially unacceptable behavior is harassment. Harassment takes on many forms. Either physical or sexual in nature. Either way, if people feel uncomfortable around others in the work environment, then they are not in a socially safe place.