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Wellness and Safety Departments have an abundance of shared goals, but are only now starting to bridge the gap to support each others initiatives. Injuries and illnesses impact workers, their families and the productivity and bottom line of the organizations they work for. So why don’t employee wellness and safety programs go hand-in-hand in most businesses? Many corporations have a blended mission, but departments still work in silos.
Opportunities to Create Synergies
Safety Departments aim for a “culture of safety” while Wellness Departments work toward a “culture of health.” How can one company build all these different cultures? The answer is to adopt a well-being approach that integrates health protection and health promotion. The dimensions of well-being can easily be looked at in terms of safety and wellness with thoughts of how to work together for better outcomes.
Integrate workplace wellness and safety programs together. Employees need to see the connection to understand how it all fits together. Preserving health, and avoiding injury go together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Here are a several areas where merging make perfect sense.
Musculoskeletal – More than a pain in the neck, sore muscles, achy joints, or injured backs are just the tip of the iceberg. These injuries are the number one cause of lost productivity for employers and high in loss of quality of life for employees.
Risk factors include repetitive motion, being overweight, physical inactivity, not practicing proper lifting and even smoking, which slows the healing process and can cause a loss of bone mineral content.
Stress A stressed worker is more likely to be distracted, which can lead to injuries, accidents, overeating, excessive drinking and other negative effects on the body.
Lack of Sleep – From a safety point of view, a tired worker is more prone to accidents and making mistakes. Wellness related side effects of poor sleep include craving fatty foods, being too tired to exercise and releasing cortisol, a hormone that leads to weight gain.
A wellness coach can help to bridge the gap between safety and wellness by helping employees make healthy lifestyle changes that effect their health and wellbeing. A wellness coach can also connect employees to useful resources such as direct stressed individuals to the company EAP program. Most importantly, the wellness coach can act as a liaison between the wellness and safety departments to help identify synergies and make sure to coordinate efforts. Ask us about our new partnership with Wellness Coaches so your employees can have access to a live health coach in-person or online.