Occupational health and safety is a broad term used to describe a variety of services related to the promotion and maintenance of workplace and employee health. These services range from everything between first aid and life support to substance abuse testing and biological monitoring.
Since December 29, 1970 — when President Nixon signed the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act into law — occupational health and safety has been growing in prominence and popularity. The initial bill gave the federal government the authority to create and enforce workplace safety and health standards.
Over time, this gave way to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was established just a few months later, on April 28, 1971. OSHA works as an arm of the federal government to set and maintain workplace safety standards. They also offer training, education, and assistance to both businesses and workers to promote these standards. In many ways, OSHA is viewed as the first and last work in occupational health and safety.
In recent years, the availability of occupational health and safety offerings is growing. What was once a relatively simple industry requirement has transformed into a massive industry that now includes mental health initiatives.
By learning more about what occupational health and safety is, the vast array of services that fall under the umbrella, and taking a proactive approach when it comes to the healthcare you offer at your worksite, you can get ahead of the trends, promote a healthier workplace, and keep your employees safe and productive.
Purpose of Providing Occupational Health and Safety Services
When it was first established in the mid 20th Century, the main reason employers offered occupational health and safety services was to meet government requirements. While this is still hugely important, the Nixon-era bill has made way for a generational industry shift. Today, both employers and employees prioritize the safety and wellbeing (both physically and mentally) of their team members. A happy, healthy team is a productive and efficient team. It is a team that is alert enough to reduce risk yet agile enough to handle any crisis situations that may arise.
Popular occupational health and safety services are:
- Hearing and respiratory protection
- Substance abuse testing
- First-aid stations
- On-site paramedics and healthcare providers
- Large-scale vaccination and testing
- Background checks
Exploring The Importance Of Occupational Health And Safety In The Modern Workplace
Attracting employees is a challenge for nearly every employer in almost all industries and vertices. Most employers are uncomfortably familiar with this challenge. By providing on-site healthcare services, employers and corporations can get an edge on the competition. Today more than ever before in history, workers are focused on both what they can do for a job, and what the job can do for them. Healthcare is a heavily weighted factor in the decision-making process for many working-age individuals, especially as healthcare costs continue to rise.
Not to mention, a healthier workforce is good for the economy and employers alike. Having a crew that is healthy means that there are fewer unproductive sick days, fewer injuries that require high-cost emergency services, and less time spent off the clock recovering. This means more work can be done in an efficient and timely manner. Providing on-site occupational health services can also cut down on insurance rates and meet federal requirements (which often have fines associated with documented failures), further protecting the bottom line of businesses.
Start Providing Occupational Health And Safety Services At Your Workplace
Once you have an understanding of what occupational health and safety services are, it is time to start thinking about how they can impact and improve your own workplace. The first step, if you're new to the world of occupational health and safety, is to make sure that your workplace is up to basic standards. This can be done by having an occupational health and safety service provider come in and do an on-site audit. These trained professionals will help make sure that you're up to code. After making sure the basic requirements set forth by OSHA are met, you can start expanding your offerings.
Talk to an experienced occupational health and safety service provider to learn more about what on-site services are most applicable for your facility.