4 Ways to Improve Your Manufacturing Employees’ Health

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Manufacturing traditionally fails to be an industry where the health and wellness of employees is the first thing that comes to mind. However, in what some consider to be an era of awakening for corporate social responsibility, workplace environments are being examined more critically for the quality of life of their workers on the job.

Thanks to stakeholders like the media, large manufacturing corporations are now held accountable for the health of their employees on the job. In addition to general managers being concerned with company reputation, individual employees in the modern age are refusing to settle when it comes to their well-being at work. Having knowledge of health and wellness tips for employees will only be beneficial in the long run: here are four ways to improve manufacturing employees’ health.

1. Reduce the stigma of mental health.

American workers set the global standard for time spent at work, with the national average being 34.4 hours per week, exceeding counterparts in other global economies. Spending the majority of our lives at work means it’s not likely that personal problems can be set aside, and prevented from following the average employee into work.

Social media movements like #BellLetsTalk and pop culture titans like Kevin Love speaking out on the importance of mental health are initiating a conversation that goes beyond physical well- being. Due to this culture, mental health is being integrated into what we as humans think about when we consider overall wellness.

Encourage good mental health practices in your business by having an open-door policy within departments, where workers would feel comfortable expressing problems that may limit their ability to do their job to the fullest potential. Sponsoring semi-annual initiatives like yoga classes, meditation instruction, or motivational speakers are also good ways to create a business culture that is mentally sound.

2. Ensure OSHA standards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created by the US government to regulate work environments that are conventionally more hazardous compared to others, with the manufacturing industry being a prime example.

Though the standards set for a workplace by OSHA are good benchmarks to ensure the physical safety of employees whose jobs may place them in potentially harmful situations, it was reported that OSHA inspections on a national scale might decrease to reduce government spending. After President Trump took office in 2016, the number of OSHA inspectors was reduced by 40, without any plans to train or take on any new members.

Though this effectively loosens a grip on individual companies, another way to improve manufacturing employees’ health is to set OSHA regulation as a certainty in the workplace, regardless of potential inspection. Work to create a culture where individual departments are expected to comply with regulation. Encourage employees to educate themselves on OSHA rules, or better yet, sponsor a workshop that explains and details the latest regulations.

3. Lead by example.

Regardless of seniority, employees will look to those in leadership roles and executive positions to set the tone for company culture. A good tip is to incorporate the health and wellness of manufacturing employees into the organizational structure of your business.

Area managers should add employee wellness goals to their list of objectives right after production quotas or quality standards. 2015 data supports the fact that the 32% of American workers who identify as feeling “engaged” at their jobs surpass others in terms of attendance, service, quality, longevity and performance in the workplace.  

To get this ROI after promoting the health and wellness of workers, business leaders should hold themselves and those around them accountable to set objectives. Great examples are a commitment to lowering the number of trip and fall injuries, assurance that staying home due to illness is preferred rather than infecting co-workers, and optional team building or icebreakers.

4. Stretch it out.

Working jobs that involve manual labor often require employees to compromise their bodies and health in ways that office jobs do not demand. Data reports that work-related musculoskeletal disorders make up more than 30 percent of occupational injuries and illnesses annually.

While there is yet to be research that directly links stretching to the decrease of work-related injuries, it is known that doing so before any strenuous activity improves flexibility and range of motion. Especially as the retirement age increases nationally, some businesses are seeing the value in incorporating stretching programs into a daily routine to promote the agility of its workers.

Overall, adding a stretching program into the day of a manufacturing employee is a great first step towards creating a corporate culture that emphasizes the health of workers. The physical exercise breaks up the day and may even increase morale, which positively contributes to mental health and employee engagement.

Looking for more manufacturing tips?

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