Go beyond health and safety to improve employee happiness and wellbeing, increase productivity and drive commercial success
Before we get into it, what does it mean to ‘go beyond health and safety’? Well, essentially it means taking additional steps to promote the wellbeing and safety of your employees beyond the minimum requirements set by laws and regulations. That wellbeing is all encompassing and not just about physical safety. This can include providing opportunities for personal and professional growth, promoting work-life balance, and fostering a positive company culture. For example, you may go beyond the legal requirements for health and safety by providing on-site fitness facilities, mental health resources, or offering extended leave for new parents.
It can also be a sign of a forward-thinking and responsible corporate culture. If your company is willing to go beyond health and safety, it is likely to be viewed positively by employees, shareholders, and customers alike. Moreover, it also creates a supportive and conducive working environment leading to better employee engagement and productivity.
This overall approach can lead to a more engaged, productive, and satisfied workforce, as well as improved brand image and reduced risk of potential legal issues that could arise from not meeting minimum health and safety standards.
Sustainability also plays an important role because it encompasses not only the wellbeing and safety of employees, but also the wellbeing and protection of the environment. By integrating sustainability into your overall corporate culture and operations, you can demonstrate your commitment to the long-term wellbeing of your employees and the planet.
Some examples include (but are not limited to):
- Implementing energy-efficient practices and using renewable energy sources, which can not only reduce the environmental impact of your operations but also lower energy costs and improve your indoor environment for employees.
- Reducing waste production and reusing and recycling materials, which not only benefit the environment but also can be cost-effective.
- Encouraging sustainable travel by offering incentives for employees who use public transportation or carpool.
Overall, integrating sustainability into your company’s operations and culture can be an important aspect for those seeking to ‘go beyond health and safety’. By promoting long-term wellbeing and protecting the environment, your organisation can also improve its brand image and the morale of employees.
Going Beyond Health and Safety
There are many ways your organisation can ‘go beyond health and safety’. Some specific steps you and your organisation can take include:
- Developing a comprehensive safety program: Develop a safety program that goes beyond the minimum requirements set by laws and regulations. This can include regular training, employee involvement, and risk assessments.
- Promoting employee wellbeing: Offer resources and opportunities to support employees’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include things like on-site fitness facilities, mental health resources, and support for healthy habits.
- Encouraging sustainable practices: Develop and promote policies that encourage environmentally sustainable practices, such as recycling, energy conservation, and using renewable energy sources.
- Creating a positive culture: Foster a positive corporate culture that values employee wellbeing and promotes work-life balance. Encourage employees to give feedback and suggestions on how to improve the overall work environment.
- Emphasizing social responsibility: Actively promote social responsibility in your community and through charitable actions.
- Offering flexibility to employees: Offer flexible scheduling and remote work options where possible to promote work-life balance and employee wellbeing.
- Regular risk assessments: Conduct regular risk assessments of your operations to identify and eliminate hazards, improve safety and ensure your employees are safe.
- Providing a safe and healthy workplace for everyone, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, etc, ensuring equal opportunity and dignity of every individual.
Implementing these steps can help create a positive and safe working environment, as well as a culture of wellbeing and sustainability.
If we explore sustainability in more detail, there are additional steps you can take to improve your organisation and wider community:
- Conduct a sustainability assessment: Evaluate the environmental and social impacts of your operations and identify areas where you can improve your sustainability.
- Develop a sustainability plan: Create a plan that outlines specific actions you will take to reduce your environmental impact and promote sustainability.
- Implement sustainable practices: Implement practices such as energy conservation, waste reduction, and the use of renewable energy sources to reduce your environmental impact.
- Promote sustainable transportation: Encourage employees to use sustainable transportation options, such as public transportation, carpooling, or biking to work.
- Partner with sustainable suppliers: Use suppliers that are committed to sustainability and have practices in place to minimize their environmental impact.
- Promote recycling: Develop and promote recycling programs, not just for paper and plastics, but also for other materials.
- Reduce water usage: Develop and implement policies to reduce water usage and promote water conservation.
- Communicate and engage with stakeholders: Regularly communicate your sustainability efforts and performance to employees, customers, and other stakeholders, and seek their input on how you can improve.
- Continuously monitor and improve: Continuously monitor your sustainability performance and use the data to set new targets and improve your overall sustainability efforts.
By implementing these steps, you can not only improve your sustainability but also promote sustainability within the wider community. This helps create a more sustainable future for all. Additionally, by promoting sustainability and being environmentally conscious, your company can attract more socially and environmentally conscious customers, employees and investors.
Leveraging Technology to ‘Go Beyond Health and Safety’
Technology can play an important role in helping you and your organisation ‘go beyond health and safety’ by providing tools and resources to improve employee wellbeing, safety, and sustainability. Here are a few ways technology can be used to achieve these goals:
- Safety control and governance software: Deploy software to automate manual safety controls, such as permit-to-work processes, and enhance visibility and governance of risks, and minimise human error.
- Safety monitoring and reporting: Implement safety monitoring systems, such as wearable devices or sensors, to help employees report hazards, near-miss incidents and track safety incidents and data in real-time.
- Remote monitoring: Utilize technology to monitor and maintain safe working conditions remotely, such as through the use of cameras, temperature monitoring devices, or other remote monitoring systems.
- Ergonomic assessment and analysis: Use technology such as virtual reality simulations or biomechanical modelling software to assess and analyze ergonomic risks and improve the design of workstations.
- Safety training: Use technology such as online safety training and e-learning platforms to provide employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to stay safe on the job.
- Health and wellness technology: Employee wellness and productivity tools can be integrated with devices such as mobile phones and wearables. These tools can help employees track their physical activity, nutrition, and sleep, while also providing them with personalized health and wellness recommendations.
- Energy efficiency and resource management: Implement energy management software to monitor and manage energy consumption, or Building Automation Systems to control HVAC and lighting systems, this can help reduce energy consumption and costs.
- Emergency management: Implement technology to enable employees to quickly and easily report emergency incidents and to facilitate communication and coordination during emergency situations.
- Communication and collaboration: Use technology such as video conferencing and instant messaging to enable employees to collaborate remotely and stay connected while working from home or away from the office.
Why is it so important? It is the base-layer of every effort you and your organisation will make to ‘go beyond health and safety’. It is the first line of defence against accidents and incidents, and is the one key area of prevention that keeps people safe. However, when automated, it can also be a driver of increased productivity and commercial growth.
Discover more about how to automate your EHS processes. Download a copy of EcoOnline’s guide, ‘Kickstarting Your Health and Safety Software Project’.