Occupational health and maintaining a healthy work environment are a priority for all well-run companies. Employers not only have to prevent workplace injuries, they also have to accommodate for their employees existing health conditions. Some of the most common health concerns found in the workplace are back pain, hearing loss, and anxiety.
These issues can all either be caused on the job, or may be exacerbated by conditions in the office or field. Back pain results either from repetitive motion, unsafe lifting, or too much time in a seated position. Generalized anxiety tends to flare up in any workplace, and one that is high stress such as a legal office or sales position tends to see much higher rates. If an employee works in an industry in which headgear is a necessity such as construction or factory work than hearing loss due to improper equipment or use also tends to occur. There is no perfect solution for combatting these, but there is a way in which to actively assess and manage them if these problems are presenting amongst employees, and that is through HSE software solutions in conjunction with OH software.
The Prevalence of Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common health complaints in the work place, and at times, one of the hardest to address. It has many causes, and while any decent business has procedures in place for safe lifting to prevent back injuries, it’s also important to consider how working conditions may be exacerbating existing back issues or creating new ones.
Sitting at a desk all day is detrimental to anybody’s health. Dr James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has famously said “Sitting is the new smoking.” Office jobs that have employees sitting at a desk for 8 or more hours a day can contribute to back pain, repetitive movement injuries from typing, and other pain in areas such as the neck, shoulders, and hips. Research has even indicated that sitting all day can increase the chance of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
HSE software solutions can address this issue of a sedentary workplace. Health managers can use their software to design a program that introduces more ergonomic work stations, stretch breaks, and potentially even fitness classes for employees to allow them to get some health movement during the workday.
Anxiety and Workplace Stress
Workplace anxiety is also a major issue, especially in any job characterized by strict deadlines, liaising with customers, or a dangerous industry. It is up to the occupational health specialist to make sure that employees are not internalizing occupational associated anxiety that may affect their job performance, but instead address any concerns that may be causing it. Having access to mental health workers, and an environment that does not stigmatize this is extremely important. Routine psych evaluations can be logged on an employee’s confidential profile on HSE software solutions and can then be analysed as to whether or not there has been a spike in meetings with mental health workers, and see if there is a trend in workplace associated anxiety. This can show employers that perhaps an environment has become too high pressure and certain companywide issues must be addressed.
Mitigating Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a major health problem in industries such as forestry and construction where employees are subject to the high decibel sound of chainsaws and drilling for long periods of time. Making sure that the proper equipment is both provided and used correctly is of utmost importance to the occupational health professional in charge. If there is a sudden spike from a certain location in hearing loss it can quickly be identified via HSE software solutions as they are able to provide analytics on who is at the site, what tasks and associated risks the workers may be subject to, and if there has been an improper usage of equipment or lack of access to proper equipment which may be the reason for an increase in this health problem. Management of change safety must then come in to play, and not just for workplaces involved in heavy industry. Actively monitoring, assessing, and regulating the workplace is something that good HSE software can do. If a company wants to provide effective occupational healthcare to its employees and work to reduce associated health problems, then effective monitoring must be a priority and using the requisite software is an excellent step.