The job of managing the work environment is a very important one. Human resources managers must consider several things when maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. There are many laws that regulate things that impact an employee’s safety, health, and happiness. But more than that, an organization should provide things concerning safety, comfort, and health for ethical reasons. An organization will likely have more productive employees if they provide a safe and comfortable work environment.
It is very important to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for many reasons. One of the big reasons is, it is simply the right thing to do. An employer should always send their employer should always send their employee’s home in the same condition they come to work in every day. The practice of safety also brings finances to the table. A safe environment impacts a project’s bottom line both directly and indirectly. The cost associated with incidents, including lost costs, worker’s comp claims, insurance costs and legal fees are minimized in a safe work environment. The indirect costs of incidents include; the loss of productivity that occurs when people turn their attention to the incident and absences associated with safety incidents. On the other hand; a safe work environment boosts employee morale, which in turn, increases productivity, efficiency, and profit margins. When employees feel they have a good, safe work environment they feel like they can make a difference.
Safety hazards are conditions in the work environment that have the potential to cause harm to an employee. Health hazards are characteristics of the work environment that more slowly and systematically, and perhaps cumulatively, result in damage to an employee’s health. An example of a safety hazard might be a poorly connected string of wiring that might result in electrical shock to an employee. An example of a health hazard could be a continuous and ongoing exposure to chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer. Occupational safety and health act. (OSHA) 1970. This law regulates organizations and may issue fines to organizations not in compliance.
Hours at work, illumination, and temperature, office and work space design are all factors that impact the employee. All human being are subject to circadian rhythms, which tell our bodies when to eat and sleep. This rhythm is very difficult to establish for employees who work very long hours or rotating shifts. These types of working hours cause fatigue and increase the risk of accidents on the job. Lighting has proven to impact an employee’s attitude. Considerable evidence shows that extreme temperatures (in either direction) can affect both attitudes and decision making on the job. Another factor that has been shown to improve mood and productivity is music. Employees tend to be in much better moods when allowed access to a stereo at work.
Stress is a person’s adaptive response to a stimulus that places excessive physical or psychological demands on him or her. The stimuli that cause stress are called stressors. Four general sets of organizational stressors are task demands, physical demands, role demands, and interpersonal demands. By nature some jobs are more stressful than others. For example; a surgeon’s position is more stressful than a general practitioner’s position. Stress within the work environment can impact an employee’s health. Overload is a task demand stressor. This is when there is more work to complete than can be handled. One thing that can impact the stress factors is an organization providing a wellness program. The program sometimes includes employee assistant programs which may offer psychologist for the employee to talk to. This is helpful because it is usually free of charge.
A wellness program in the work environment provides many benefits to their employees. Wellness programs can help their employees deal with stress by offering gym memberships that provide physical exercise. The idea behind the wellness program is to prevent illness rather than just paying for it after it happens. A well designed wellness program can include counseling services for emotional stress. Employees report an overall widespread feeling of health when allowed to participate in a wellness program.
Another benefit of the wellness program saves the company money on employee absences and lost time from other things that a wellness program catches before it causes lost time from work. Employees benefit from health assessments that catch problems with their health before it is a major concern. For example; blood pressures are regularly monitored, weight checked, and cholesterol regularly checked. Some organizations offer cheaper insurance premiums for employees that participate in a wellness program. This type of benefit is a win-win.
In conclusion, there are many things to consider when providing a work environment. An employee’s safety, health, and comfort impacts finances of the organization, and the health of the employee. An organization that provides a safe and healthy work environment is likely to retain good productive employees. Health costs are usually less, and turnovers are experienced less often within a safe work environment. With OSHA having requirements that organizations must comply with, companies are likely to provide safety to avoid paying a penalty or fine. Besides being compliant, organizations will most likely want to do this because it’s the right thing to do.