Health, Safety & Employee Wellbeing

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Management

Friday is World Health Day and we thought it is the ideal time to talk about health and safety and employee wellness at work.

In South Africa we have the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1993 (OHSA) which requires the employer to bring about and maintain, as far as reasonably practicable, a work environment that is safe and without risk to the health of workers.     

Importance of OHSA for us as business owners and employers

It is important to know that the employer is not expected to assume sole responsibility for the health and safety of employees. The Act is based on the principle that hazards in the workplace must be addressed through co-operation and clear communication between the employer and employees. Both parties must proactively identify risks and develop control measures to make the working environment safe.

What must we as the employer do to ensure that the work environment is safe and without risks?

Every employer shall provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his/her employees.

Those duties include the following:

·         Provision and maintenance of safe and hazard-free systems of work, plant, and machinery.

·         Determining the risks to the health or safety of persons relating to any work that is performed; establishing what precautionary measures should be taken to protect the health and safety of persons; and providing the necessary means to apply such precautionary measures.

·         Providing the necessary information, instructions, training, and supervision.

·         Taking all necessary measures and enforcing the measures to ensure that the provisions of this Act are complied with.

·         According to Section 17 of the Act, employers who employ 20 or more workers on premises must appoint representatives to monitor health and safety conditions.

HR TIP: Friday, 7th of April is World Health Day. Take this opportunity by implementing a new, fun exercise for all your employees. You will be able to identify which employees are “burning out” as well as how to monitor wellness in the workplace.

Some tips that work for us in the office:

1. Keep Healthy Snacks Nearby and Pack Your Own Lunch  

This works for me, I do not manage to pack lunch every day, but it makes a big difference and saves me time.  As writer Nina Tamburello says, “When the vending machine or leftovers from the 3 PM meeting tempt you with their ease and convenience, it’s hard to just say no to chips and cookies during that mid-afternoon slump.”  So, instead, leave a bag of almonds or kale chips next to your laptop. It’s much easier than getting up to snag something from the office kitchen.

2. Stand Up and Stretch Often

Even if it’s just to tackle some emails or short to-dos, spend 30 minutes a day standing at your desk—we bet it’ll boost your energy. Oh, and if your office doesn’t have any place where you can work standing up, then just literally make sure you’re physically standing up and stretching at least once an hour.

3. Practice Smart Computer Habits

Staring at a computer all day is exhausting, and hard on the eyes, neck, back, and head.

So, remember to take short breaks between tasks, turn the brightness down on your computer, sit up straight, use eye drops, and shift positions occasionally.

4. Carve Out Personal Time

You can’t work all the time, it’s just not good for you. As Writer Lily Herman realized, “My constant desire to work came to a head when I start showing signs of ‘brownout’—it’s the notion that while I was performing fine from the outside, I was slowly becoming exhausted, unmotivated, and uninspired.”

So, literally set aside a slot on your calendar for “you” time—whether that means getting yourself a coffee, scrolling through social media, chatting with a co-worker or walk around the block or doing some breathing  and mindfulness exercises.   

5. Drink Lots of Water

It goes without saying, really. Water equals a happy body (and less mid-day headaches).

My secret for success? A fun water bottle. Try out one with a straw, or a button, or a flippy lid.  Or water infused with fruit and herbs and if I really battle, I grab a good old sparkling water.

We challenge you to start an Office Workout Tradition

Besides getting in a quick workout, it’s a great way to bond as co-workers.  Watch our socials this week to see what Elodie and I will start as our workout tradition and if you have one or start one, please tag us in your socials.  She is talking about push-ups and I a trying to find a way out. LOL

Good health is essential for good living; you need to ensure that yourself as well as your employees are doing everything you can to stay healthy. With the resolute determination and the right know-how, staying healthy is not that difficult.

If you do not have health and safety policies, contact us today.