How Employee Well-Being Impacts Workplace Safety

Employee well-being is critical for the smooth functioning of your business. Research published by the Oxford Business School shows that happy employees work harder, are 13% more productive, and are less likely to leave you high and dry in a moment of need.

Promoting employee well-being improves the safety of your workplace, too. Highly motivated staff are more likely to come forward with issues and deliver critical feedback when you’re trialing new equipment.

A happy workforce is less likely to suffer from mental health conditions like burnout. This will save you money that you would’ve spent on mental health leave and help staff strike a harmonious work-life balance. Employee happiness can be a powerful preventative measure against accidents and injuries at work.



Stress and Burnout

Stress is a contributing factor to a number of serious physical illnesses and mental health conditions. Poor stress management can cause issues like fatigue, memory problems, anxiety, and depression. Failing to protect your staff from stress can increase the risk of heart attacks, hypertension, and stroke, too.

Help your employees handle chronic stress by encouraging them to seek a burnout diagnosis. A diagnosis can help staff connect with therapists who offer coping skills like gratitude journaling, self-compassion, and positive appraisal.

It’s important to note that staff who receive a burnout diagnosis are a sign that things need to change at your place of work. Lily Brown, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that burnout often occurs due to issues that are “systemic to the organization.” This means that the way you operate has created an environment so toxic that it is undermining the health and well-being of otherwise happy employees.

Support staff and improve workplace safety by addressing heavy workloads and making meaningful changes to the way you operate. Go beyond symbolic changes like offering midday meditation classes and address staff shortages by making new hires in order to share the load equally throughout your organization. Reinvest more of your revenue into safety training and survey staff to find out how you can better support them

Safety Training

Safety training is an important part of any employee’s onboarding process. However, most employers forgo further safety training after employees have stepped into their new roles. This is a major misstep, as regular retraining is necessary to prevent accidents and remind folks of their responsibilities.

Promoting safety standards can also improve employee well-being. Investing in relevant safety resources shows staff that you care about their health and are willing to invest resources into improving their well-being at work. This can prevent accidents and reduce the risk of illness or injury.

Investing in safety training can indirectly protect your profitability, too. The benefits of regular safety training include:

  • Increased productivity
  • An edge in recruiting
  • Increased retention
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Fewer delays due to accidents

Improving the quality of your safety training can help you build a positive reputation in your industry, too. This is key if you want to win over external stakeholders and create a reputation as a safe, employee-centric employer.

red hard hat on pavement
How Employee Well-Being Impacts Workplace Safety 6

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Improving Communication

Promoting a culture of communication can reduce the risk of common workplace accidents like slips, falls, chemical burns, and defective equipment injuries. However, stressed-out, overworked employees are unlikely to take time out of their day to report the issues they encounter.

Reduce the risk of accidents and promote greater well-being at work by improving communication channels at your business. Effective communication gives staff a chance to chime in on key issues and can help you take proactive steps to improve workplace safety. This can empower employees and help them feel that they’re being heard by upper management.

Effective communication can also reduce the risk of coworker violence and discrimination. Folks need to be certain that their complaints about coworkers will be taken seriously or they may bottle up their concerns. This will undermine your desire to run a safe, happy workplace and create a culture of fear and distrust.

You can improve communication and create a safer, more transparent culture by changing the way staff come forward with complaints or questions. Rather than relying on an open-door policy, schedule regular one-on-ones with staff to address safety concerns and well-being. These meetings don’t need to drag on all afternoon and can be as simple as a 2-minute check-in. Act quickly if a member of your team raises a concern and follow up to show that their feedback has been taken seriously.

Conclusion

Employee well-being and staff safety are integrally tied. To run a safe, happy workplace you need to prioritize communication and should invest in stress management tools for your team. Even simple changes, like offering mental health leave, can make a big difference to the productivity of your entire business. Just be sure to gather plenty of feedback before you make any changes, as this will help you address the underlying causes of accidents, illnesses, and injuries.

Featured image by Unsplash

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