As organisations continue to recognise the tangible impact of employee safety, health and wellbeing on their bottom line, how do leaders identify and address the interrelation of these factors and the opportunities they present?
We have come a long way in improving the safety of employees at work. Most organisations have put in place safety systems, provided PPE, and re-engineered the work environment to reduce the likelihood that an employee will be injured on the job. While there are still improvements to be made, we have made real progress in safety, and the health protection of workers.
However, how many organisations can make the same claims when it comes to addressing their employees’ health and wellbeing? How many can claim that not only do they not harm their employees, but also that working at their organisation actually has a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of their employees?
The push to address both health protection (safety) and health promotion (wellbeing) is currently a big topic for researchers and organisations, with NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) in the United States founding the Total Worker Health® Program to prevent worker injury and illness, promote health, and advance the health, safety, and wellbeing of workers. Sentis endorses NIOSH’s Total Worker Health® framework, has long aligned its programs and services to this integrated model and works closely with NIOSH’s Office for Total Worker Health while partnering with research institutions that also endorse the TWH approach.
It is no longer enough to simply focus on the safety and prevention of injury of employees. We need to look at the worker as a whole person and consider not only their physical safety, but also their mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing.
But how can leaders and employees divide their limited attention, resources, and energy, across safety and wellbeing when they are two outcomes that both require an enormous amount of attention? The answer is, they shouldn’t have to. If we are looking at the worker as a whole person, with their safety, mental health and wellbeing, and physical health all interconnected, then workplace interventions and strategies used to support an employee towards these outcomes should ideally be integrated. In order to truly advance employee safety and wellbeing, and build a safer, healthier and thriving workplace culture, we need to address this as one challenge.
So, how well does your organisation invest in building a strong, positive culture of safety AND wellbeing? Is one outcome emphasised or more strongly supported at an organisational level than the other? What impact does this have on your workforce?
Organisational Safety, Health and Wellbeing Checklist
Download the Organisational Safety, Health and Wellbeing checklist for a quick snapshot of where your organisation is investing most of its energy when it comes to safety and wellbeing.
Director, Products & Services
Jennifer Farrell is an Organisational Psychologist with over 12 years professional experience in HR Consulting, Leadership Development, and Safety Consulting.
Jennifer’s passion for understanding human behaviour in a work context has led her to partner with a range of clients to improve their safety and wellbeing culture. Applying the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, she helps leaders to build high-performing teams and inspire and motivate their employees. Jennifer’s strong research background ensures Sentis stays cutting-edge in developing and delivering a suite of services that will assist organisations to build effective safety cultures, where leaders and employees go beyond basic compliance with safety systems, to demonstrate true safety citizenship.