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It’s October again, and we all know what that means…cozy sweaters, jack-o-lanterns, crunchy leaves, frosted windshields, Halloween candy testing our willpower, and, of course, Healthy Workplace Month! At Engaged HR, we work hard every month to promote health in the workplace for our team and our clients. But we also recognize that work is busy, and workplace health, safety, and wellness often takes a backseat to the deluge of daily priorities and an endless to-do list.

Just because it’s hard to find the time doesn’t mean we should give up and scratch workplace health off the list entirely. Twitter_logo_blue

Just because it’s hard to find the time doesn’t mean we should give up and scratch workplace health off the list entirely, though. Healthy Workplace Month provides a great opportunity to re-focus on how we can promote wellness at work and keep employees safe.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – promoting healthy workplaces doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Here are 4 easy ways to hone in on health and safety in your organization this month:

1. Take control of cold and flu season. Encourage hand-washing, provide ample hand sanitizer and tissues, and ensure surfaces (kitchen areas, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, etc.) are sanitized regularly. The best way to prevent the spread of illness? Communicate proactively with employees, and make sure they know it’s okay to stay home if they’re sick. Employees need to feel like they won’t be judged or penalized for calling in sick. This is also where having established flexible work policies can also be helpful – it’s easy to let employees work from home while sick (if they’re up to it!) if you’ve already set up the systems and tools to support working remotely.

2. Participate in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. On October 19 at 10:19 am, millions of people worldwide will be practicing how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” during Great ShakeOut earthquake drills. If you haven’t registered your organization, take five minutes, sign up your team, and check out some useful resources on emergency preparedness. Participating is free, it isn’t a big time commitment, and it’s a great way to make sure your organization is prepped to recover quickly if and when the Big One happens.

3. Revisit WorkSafeBC compliance. Are you meeting your employer responsibilities to maintain a safe workplace? In the event of an accident or injury, would your team know what to do? Meet your WorkSafeBC-mandated responsibilities by reviewing whether:

  • You have a formal occupational health and safety program in place (as required).
  • Employees and supervisors are being trained to do their work safely and provide proper supervision.
  • First Aid equipment, supplies and attendants are in place.
  • The workplace is regularly inspected for hazards.
  • Injuries are reported to WorkSafeBC.
  • Accidents and injuries are investigated as appropriate.
  • You have a comprehensive bullying and harassment policy and training in place for all employees.

4. Involve employees. Ultimately, your occupational health, safety, and wellness programs aren’t just about ticking items off a list or rolling out new initiatives just for the fun of it. It’s about your people. As employers and people managers, we all care about our teams. And since health, safety and wellness initiatives are for them, it makes sense to involve them in the planning to make sure employees are getting the most out of the programs you offer. Ask them how you can support their wellness goals, keep them informed on health and safety topics, and show that you take their feedback seriously with regular check-ins – use short (3-5 question) temperature-check surveys as a simple way to make sure your organization’s health, safety, and wellness programs are on the right track.

Your Engaged HR Assignment: If you’ve been putting your organization’s occupational health, safety and wellness on the back burner, now’s the time to invest a little time in that area. Pick one of the topics above, and devote half an hour this week to implementing it in your organization. You can do it!

If you need advice or support, let us know!

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