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Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Employees?

Tips on Contractor Health and Safety: Promoting a Healthy Workplace

4.3 million workdays were lost in one year due to workplace injury, according to Healthy Working Lives. General contractors in a labor-intensive industry know just how prone employees are to injury. Encouraging employee wellness can keep your workers healthy, happy and handy.

Hop on the Healthy Food Train

Two people in the front seat of a car, the driver eating and the passenger drinking coffee

If they see it, they will eat it. Swap out the fatty comfort foods for healthier snacks to maintain a more energized workforce. Having easy to eat apples or oranges in the break room means one less doughnut under the tool belt. 

Access to healthy foods at work encourages healthy choices outside of work. While a cookie a day at work doesn’t seem like much, habits are formed over time, so swap out sweets for something substantial. Employees will have better sources of energy and avoid getting burnt out. 

An added bonus for keeping fruit around is that it adds to hydration on hot days and is another tool to combat heat stress; try offering watermelon when the temperatures are boiling.

Establish a Smoke-Free Work Environment 

Did you know smoking is the leading cause of preventable death according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?  A survey on tobacco use reported that the construction sector “had the highest smoking rates by occupational group at 39%.” 

Encourage your employees to quit smoking by implementing a no-smoking policy at the office and worksites. This is an effective way to promote long-term health for workers. 

Nicotine testing is available, so reward non-smokers by giving them discounts on health insurance premiums, providing better coverage or coming up with a reward of your own. The investment will be worth the reward.

Additionally, your clients may complain about cigarette butts and second-hand smoke invading their property, which is bad for business. You also avoid the estimated loss of $21 per day per smoker in additional medical costs and lost productivity from smoke breaks and tobacco-related sick days. Estimates show that allowing employee smoke breaks wastes up to 5 weeks of productive time per employee every year.

Aside from employee health, jobsite health is a risk as well. Many fires have been started on the jobsite with a cigarette that wasn’t properly disposed. A five minute smoke break could cause you to have to redo months of work at your own cost.

Call for Competition Amongst Workers

Encouraging physical activity in a competitive setting gets people motivated and moving, and sets the foundation for a more active lifestyle. Here are some ideas that can help get your workers in better shape through competition:

  • Fund recreational teams for employees to join such as a sand volleyball, basketball or softball team that plays once a week.
  • Organize different athletic activities, such as kickball or bowling, every month to keep employees active and in shape. 
  • Create a competition to see who can get the most steps every day for a year. 
  • Hold a weight loss competition to see who loses the greatest percentage of their body weight / fat. Pair workers into teams and make it a group effort for extra accountability.

It’s important to note that before any sponsored or promoted physical activities or competitions begin, your employees should sign a waiver. With a signed waiver from your staff, you reduce the risk of being sued for damages or injuries as a result of the activity. Check out this sample waiver for physical activity programs. 

Competitions like these push workers to new limits, plus they help foster better relationships. 

In an injury-prone industry, keeping employees as healthy and strong as possible is key for avoiding work-related injury.

Want to keep your workers as healthy as possible? Protect them in every way you can by encouraging them when they’re healthy and covering them when they’re not.