The Unseen Factors of Health and Safety
Here at AmberTrax we're a proximity safety company - we quite literally manage the safety of people in proximity to moving machinery such as diggers and loaders and such. That being the case, it'd be easy to assume that we think workplace safety is entirely about the physical. While it is certainly our focus, there are so many factors that go into the creation of a safe, or unsafe, working environment, and a number of them are very much unseen.
When we're on a busy, noisy work site, it's easy to ignore the intangible, but the effects about how health affects safety are quite obvious. And there's a lot more to health than simply a whole and well-functioning body! Workplace bullying, for example, will erode team dynamics and possibly create communication problems. When that happens, you've got the potential for disaster. When someone is physically unwell with a cold or the flu, their ability to concentrate on the job at hand can be severely impaired. There are many times that an issue at home; relationship trouble, a new baby disrupting sleep, financial woes, will weigh on someone's mind heavily or create fatigue, and add to the possibility of their making a mistake. If someone is not fit enough physically for their working environment, or even overweight or obese, these are all danger factors not usually listed on the hazard sheet for a site - but they do contribute to the overall safety of any site or workplace.
When our people are struggling, mentally, emotionally or physically, they're more likely to get hurt.
This nifty little infographic (Thanks, WorkSafe!), shows what we're talking about.
Just the same way as danger at work can affect our health, our health can affect our performance and therefore our safety at work. It's important that business owners and managers take this into consideration - workers are humans first, and we're all susceptible to these frailties at some point or another. In business, its vital that we stop treating people like numbers and treat them like PEOPLE again! People don't HAVE to work for us. Sure it's important for people to work, but they can get jobs elsewhere. We need to remember that it's a PRIVILEGE to have someone be willing to show up daily, to put in the time and the effort. Yes we pay them, but if we ask for their loyalty, surely we can show them some by taking good care of them when they need a bit of support?
These days if you look around, there's somewhat of a hearkening back to the 'good old days', where communities were built around industry, and there was a sense of camaraderie at work; a knowledge that 'we're all in this together' - and that's a good thing! So often, we move on as a society and as industries, with not a lot of thought as to whether we're leaving behind some important things that have helped make us who we are. Progress should be about keeping the good and creating better, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We all have a hand in creating community, be it in our neighbourhood or in our workplace - so keep an eye on each other; it pays off. You might even find yourself a community while you're at it.
Take care out there.