Learning from different industries to improve safety, health, and well-being at work

Homecare

Homecare workers typically work in isolated settings and are at increased risk to injuries, such as sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries from moving and lifting consumer clients, and from slips, trips, and falls. It is sometimes difficult to protect these caregivers from workplace hazards because they often work alone and may lack access to training, ergonomic tools, and lack of social support from colleagues. Additionally, homecare workers can face harassment and violence at work, often unintentionally, from their clients leading to stress, burnout, depression, and sleep problems.

Construction

Construction workers in the U.S. are 3 to 5 times more likely to be injured or killed on the job compared to workers in other industries. Slip, trips, and falls are common and leading causes of deaths and injuries in construction, making up over 1/3 of fatalities and injuries for this industry. Construction work is physically demanding and workers are often exposed to physical and chemical workplace hazards.

Young workers

Young workers between the ages of 14 and 24 are at an increased risk for occupational injuries and are more likely to be injured on the job than older workers due to limited on-the-job experience, lack of training, and lifestyle habits. As many as 84% of young workers receive little or no training on workplace health and safety during their onboarding period of their new, and often, very first job. A way to reduce occupational injuries is through a workplace safety training program, which has been shown to effectively reduce the number of workplace injuries.

Call-center and Sedentary workers

Sedentary behavior is a public health issue that has grazed many headlines. Sitting too much has been linked to health outcomes such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal injury, and increased risk of all-cause mortality.

Team truck drivers

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 7.4 million people in the United States are employed as truck drivers, which makes up 5.8% of the U.S. full-time workforce.

  • Small differences between the mattresses in the vibrations experienced by the mattress occupants.
  • The unexpected factor creating the largest difference in vibration transmission through the mattresses was the type of tires on the truck.
  • Compared to the standard innerspring mattress in trucks, the therapeutic mattress produced small increases in sleep duration but medium-to-large improvements in reported sleep quality and fatigue.
  • There was not a way to link the vibration differences to the overwhelming preference for the therapeutic mattress.

Leaders and managers in any industry

Each year, American Psychological Association (APA) conducts a “Stress in America” survey reporting that each year stress is a major cause of stress for Americans. The (APA) reports that long-term stress can be harmful to our physical and emotional health. Common sources of stress include low and inequitable salaries and wages, excessive workloads, lack of growth and advancements, engagement, low social support, autonomy and control over job-related tasks and decisions, and demands at work that are unclear or conflicting to a person’s job role.

Final thoughts…

It is important to understand better that each workplace has a set of factors and needs that need to be met to keep their workforce safe, healthy, and well. Taking a Total Worker Health approach can help organizations create policies, practices, and training that can help employers holistically balance and address safety, health, and well-being at work. Oregon Healthy Workforce Center has developed and expanded organizational approaches across 10 years of research. There is still so much more work to be done.

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