Work-related safety concerns come in two forms: physical and emotional. A comprehensive safety plan requires attention to both aspects of health and a framework for preventing and addressing grievances.
Physical and environmental risks
Pollutants and dangerous chemicals are a major occupational hazard that can have dire consequences if left unaddressed. Working in a potentially toxic environment carries risks of many diseases, particularly cancer. Surprisingly, these long-term effects are a much more frequent and pervasive problem than even workplace injuries. In industries where exposure to cancer-causing chemicals is a daily part of the job, employees should always be aware of the hazards. The protocol should mandate and enforce the wearing of protective safety gear, and encourage employees to undertake regular and timely health checkups.
Mental and emotional risks
Stress, depression, and anxiety are big issues here. Workplace-related mental problems arise due to stressful changes in environment, workload, or an unhealthy social environment at work. The World Health Organization defines a healthy job environment as one where “the pressures on employees are appropriate in relation to their abilities and resources, to the amount of control they have over their work, and to the support they receive from people who matter to them.” Management can make a difference by striving to be open and responsive to employee concerns, ensuring that employees feel supported and receive tasks that are appropriate to their level of skills and training.
What kind of strategies does your workplace use to deal with health and safety concerns? Let us know on Twitter @donesafe!
As always, stay safe,
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