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Sincerely Stefanie: A Focus on Wellbeing

March 28, 2018
Worker wellbeing and safety go hand-in-hand.

"There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to worker wellbeing,” said John Dony, director of the Campbell Institute, in a recent statement to the media.

People come in all shapes and sizes, with different likes and dislikes as well as different behaviors. Because of this, implementing the H (health) into EHS comes with its own set of challenges.
As mentioned in this month’s article, “Why Workplace Wellness Works,” the Campbell Institute, research arm of the National Safety Council, recently released a report that details how companies should approach the health and wellbeing component in a journey of continuous improvement.

“A Systems Approach to Worker Health and Wellbeing” provides a framework FOR EHS professionals when it comes to developing a safety initiative: the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) model.

“Organizations are unique and so are their employees. If the biggest risk to an organization is employees being overweight, it might want to focus efforts on physical fitness,” Dony explained. “Or, if the highest risk for an organization is deemed to be worker stress, it might want to look at implementing a worker assistance program.”

Just as in safety management systems, this model can be used to implement and measure ROI for identifying risks such as obesity, stress or musculoskeletal disorders, the institute states. The components from a health perspective would look as such:

Plan
Obtain workforce buy-in
Guarantee anonymity
Agree on data collection process

Do
Conduct worker survey
Conduct biometric screenings

Check
Create heat/risk map
Decide where to allocate resources

Act
Create plans to address highest risks
Determine metrics to track

The goal of releasing the framework is to underscore the underlying belief that a true, world-class culture of health and safety is not just a “robust safety program,” but also a focus on worker wellbeing.

This all leads to my efforts to draw attention to worker wellbeing in future issues of EHS Today, whether it’s a news item highlighting wellness efforts or an in-depth article on a relevant topic.

One such effort is the announcement of the upcoming More Fun Than Run 5K, which will take place at Safety 2018 in San Antonio, Texas, in June.

In a recent call with Denise Albrecht, chair of the American Society of Safety Engineer’s Next Generation Board, which supports young safety professionals in their careers, I asked her about the 5K.

The inaugural event, which Albrecht is spearheading, came about as an alternative to the Chinese auction the Next Generation Board undertook each year. The health component was a major factor in the decision to organize the walk/run.

“We wanted to make sure it was fun and make sure people can get out after being in sessions all day,” she said.

If your team and you are planning to attending Safety 2018, I encourage you to use it as an opportunity to promote wellbeing within your company and set a goal to complete it. After all, leading by example can create a positive change in a company’s culture.

EVENT: More Fun Than Run 5K
Tuesday, June 5 I 6:00 PM I ASSE Safety 2018, San Antonio, TX

After two days of sessions and meetings, break out by registering for the first-ever, More Fun Than Run 5K, at the Tower of the Americas, right near the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, home of Safety 2018. Whether you want to race like an Olympian, hop like a bunny or skip like a kid, just have fun being part of this inaugural event which supports the ASSE Foundation’s Safety Matters Fund. In 6,758 steps, you will be making history and supporting a great cause. Registration is $45 per person and includes a T-shirt, bib number, timing chip and a goodie bag. More info is available at www.asse.org.

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