Improving employee productivity seems to tie in with how employers treat their staff. Leaders like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Gary Vaynerchuk have been spreading the idea that they are only as successful as their employees, but it seems this new employee-centered thinking may actually be pushing a bigger message: Workplace safety.

2020 sees employers caring more than ever about employees in the workplace AND at home, considering the COVID-19 Pandemic has pushed more than 60% of all employees to remote working. As many companies try to stay afloat, they are encouraging physical and mental wellness now more than ever. It is no longer enough to mandate annual physical exams and offer discount gym memberships (if they even open). Total wellness is here and is actively being supported by the top brass. Companies are considering ways to prevent sickness, injuries and create a healthy and happy workforce even in the face of shifting work dynamics.

Here are some of the challenges employers must address:

1. Aging Workforce

Baby Boomers are still actively working in part because 70 isn’t like it used to be; there are many vital septuagenarians. One thing to consider with today’s multigenerational workforce, especially those who have made it out of the pandemic shutdown with a job still intact, is ergonomics. According to Michael Steward, an EHS Manager, musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) injuries cost companies $13.1 billion per year. Employees can expect a shift in focus from reaction to prevention as employers begin to change up how employees move throughout their workday. From pushing and pulling to posture and eyestrain, investment in ergonomics can lower work-related injury costs.

2. Generational Differences

There is now a fourth generation entering the workforce. Generation Z has begun to graduate college or trade school and start working alongside the Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Due to factors like ever changing technologies and social media, each generation works differently than its predecessor. The way each generation learns and their approach to the way they execute their work creates a training challenge for even the most proficient company. Work styles must be framed in company procedure and compliance. It is critical to ensure that safety policies are uniform and that all staff are following the same protocol.

3. Gig Economy

Nonstandard work arrangements, which include those for part-time work, temporary contracts, on-call work, and third-party contracts, are becoming more and more common. With the ever-rising cost of healthcare and the responsibility the government places on companies to carry the high costs for full-time worker benefits, more companies are opting for nonstandard work arrangements which reduce their financial burden. However, in traditional companies who still offer employer-sponsored benefits, there is an incentive to take proactive steps to protect their employees from injury and illness.

4. Poor Work Conditions = Poor Health

Many will not be surprised to learn that obesity, sleep disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression, among other conditions, can often be attributed to poor or stressful work conditions. As a result of these factors, many employee-conscious companies have implemented workplace health programs. While traditional wellness exams will likely continue, it will be important for Corporate Employee Wellness programs to continue to grow and cover as many employees as practicable.

5. Many Safety Professionals Will Become Generalists

According to Columbia Southern University, many companies have consolidated their safety professionals into one generalized safety role. The positions once covered issues from fire prevention to ergonomics, but many companies are now streamlining their teams. “As a result, many safety professionals are being charged with overseeing all aspects of OSH in organization, and they need to approach their work from multiple perspectives,” the website states. An unspecialized generalist could overlook specific safety procedures or processes resulting in a higher risk of workplace accidents.

Regardless of the changes implemented to promote workplace safety, accidents will continue to happen. In fact, some work-related accidents may give rise to a claim pursuant to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, as well as a separate and distinct personal injury claim. If you are hurt on the job, it is important to consult with an experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney as soon as possible. Call the number below or fill out the contact form on our website, and we will contact you for a complimentary consultation.


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