Why an Integrated Workplace Safety and Wellness Program Is Best

Employees are a business’s most valuable asset and keeping them safe and healthy should be a priority for any company. Many businesses have a workplace safety program and a wellness program, but the two programs operate independently of one another – but should they? There are some compelling reasons to integrate the two so that employees can benefit from a more global, holistic approach to staying safe and healthy on the job.

To adequately address health and safety issues, companies need to look not only at whether an employee is performing their job safely but whether they’re healthy and fit enough to do their job without a high risk of injury. Issues like obesity, poor physical fitness and inadequate nutrition make it harder for employees to carry out certain tasks in the workplace.

The link between health and safety

According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, people who are obese are at higher risk for occupational health issues and injuries. When obese staff are exposed to chemicals on the job, they’re at higher risk for occupational asthma and heart and lung issues compared to a non-obese person. They’re also at greater risk for ergonomic issues and bio-mechanical problems including carpal tunnel syndrome. If companies focus on workplace safety without addressing the obesity issue, the bigger problem remains. A unified approach that integrates occupational safety measures with wellness initiatives that emphasize good nutrition and weight control provides a more effective solution to the problem.

There’s also the issue of back injuries. Back injuries are one of the most common workplace safety issues, and people who are overweight and physically unfit are at higher risk for injuring their back on the job. Most back injuries occur as a result of lifting objects at work and ergonomic issues. Although it’s not possible to prevent all work-related back problems, integrating wellness with safety by emphasizing regular exercise to strengthen muscles in the lower back can reduce back injuries. Integrating workplace safety and wellness offers a more well-rounded approach to preventing back injuries.

What part does wellness play in safety? Wellness programs that focus on stress reduction, smoking cessation and alcohol and drug-related issues are also important for workplace safety. According to a study published in a Canadian publication called The Daily, smokers are at greater risk for being injured at work compared to non-smokers. Among women, the risk was nearly double. Stress does more than just affect employees psychologically – it increases their risk of being injured on the job. Employees who are under stress at home or at work are distracted and less able to focus on doing their job safely. Integrating stress management into a workplace safety program can help reduce the number of injuries and motivate employees to be more productive. Nutrition is another factor that a workplace safety and wellness program should address. Employees who start their day with only a cup of coffee are more prone to blood sugar drops that can lead to workplace injuries. Good nutrition is an integral part of any safety program.

There’s another benefit of merging wellness and workplace safety. Employees are less likely to participate in programs that address workplace hazards than they are wellness programs that focus on personal benefits. Integrating the two makes it more likely that employees will take part.

The bottom line

Combining workplace safety with wellness has a number of benefits for both employees and employers. Most importantly, it helps to create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace – and that’s something every company should strive for.

15 Steps to Product Marketing Success

Do you know the NUMBER ONE reason that new or existing product initiatives fail?

Management falls in love with their product. They believe they have an excellent product and often act in reliance on the assumed fact the product is great. Don’t make this mistake!!! Follow the steps below to ensure your success.

Product Development/Research

Step 1: Conduct research to see if the product is a good one (not excellent).

Step 2: Make any required changes to improve the product.

[If the product fails, then stop here.]

Product Marketing

Step 3: Assume that the product is “terrible” and the management has “inventoritis”.

Inventoritis n. Any of a group of disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations accompanied in many cases by a portfolio containing granted patent applications and other forms of intellectual property including trade secrets. Inventoritis is associated with depressed or non-existent product sales and defects in marketing programs and is caused by excessive reliance on the assumed idea that one’s product or idea is an excellent one.

Step 4: Assess financial capability to support product-marketing initiatives.

Step 5: Create an inventory of all the tangible and intangible assets available to the company.

Step 6: Understand the value proposition, target market, goals and environment.

Step 7: Clarify timeline, plan, target market needs, priorities and objectives.

Step 8: Examine all processes within the company (operations, financial and internal / external marketing).

Step 9: Make all required improvements to the internal processes.

Step 10: Improve the marketing materials.

Step 11: Design an external marketing strategy and process. (considerations below)

Positioning – competitive strategy, differentiation, brand and pricing strategy
Selecting – distribution channels, marketing vehicles and service providers

Step 12: Finding the Leverage Point (Strategic Leveraging) by analyzing networks, trends, technology and alliances.

Strategic Leveraging is a proprietary process developed by Atomica Creative and involves the following 5 steps:

1. determining the opportunities for improvement from the status quo.
2. evaluating strategic improvement opportunities.
3. creating a strategy centered around a Leverage Point (LP).
4. establishing a position.
5. executing the strategy using sufficient leverage and force to drive the process to completion.

Team

Step 13: Get the right people into the right places at the right time.

Execution and Review

Step 14: Leverage all the appropriate tangible and intangible assets and execute on the strategy and process.

Step 15: Review the process and make any necessary changes.

The Need for Product Innovation

Developing new products and launching them in the marketplace can be a difficult, costly and even dangerous business. So why do it? Why not leave well alone and be content with profit from existing products, concentrating effort on expanding sales of these products and finding new markets for them?

One reason is that seizing new opportunities as they emerge is a way to increase profits. (To be first in the field with a successful new product gives one the chance of creaming off large profits before effective competition develops.) But the main reason is that it is dangerous to assume that profits from existing products will continue at present levels for ever. The product life-cycle concept tells us that they will certainly not continue for ever. At different rates, over varying time-scales, all products eventually achieve market saturation and then start to decline. Even while sales volume holds up, profits may well not; and retaining sales volume and profits may call for regular updating of existing products.

For most companies, therefore, a programme of product review and development is essential; and, for all companies, to ignore this area of activity is highly dangerous. A McGraw-Hill study in the United States showed that in 1963 the percentage of sales accounted for by products introduced since 1959 was 28 per cent for transportation, 18 per cent for electrical machinery, and so on, through a whole list of categories. In the consumer goods fields successful new products introduced more recently -include a wide range of increasingly sophisticated computer games, the ‘superglues’ and a whole host of pre-prepared meals for cooking by microwave.

In consumer durables we have seen the successful introduction of video cameras and answering machines, with mobile telephones and fax machines for home use not far behind. Innovative services (intangible products) include direct purchase of insurance by telephone and ‘home banking’.

The most ‘safe’ and inexpensive way to launch a ‘new’ product is modifying an existing product.

New Products from Old

We first need to be clear what is a new product. There are basically three clear kinds of new products:

1. Innovative products which are unique products for which there is a real need, not being met satisfactorily by an existing product. Penicillin when first introduced fell into this category, as did the telephone, the internal combustion engine, and chloroform. We can also describe as innovative those products which, while replacing existing goods that have been satisfying existing markets quite well, offer totally different solutions. Examples would be television partially replacing the cinema and the radio, the zip fastener and later Velcro instead of strings or buttons, and solar power for other energy sources;

2. Adaptive products which offer significantly different variations on existing products: they include such items as instant coffee, freeze-dried foods, self-adhesive wallpaper, and typewriters with a memory. Another kind of variation is represented by package changes, styling modifications, new designs and colours.

3. Imitative products are already being sold by someone else but further sales opportunities exist for an additional brand, with or without minor modifications. The divisions between these categories are obviously very fuzzy. Indeed, some authors have distinguished as many as a dozen different ways in which a product can be ‘new’.

The truly innovative product is rare. Adaptive new products can sometimes necessitate a great deal of new technology and extensive research and development, though a ‘new’ product can often be produced by changes to an existing one. These may range from relatively minor changes, which effectively extend the life-cycle of a product, to much more extensive improvements.

An example quoted by Peter Drucker that covers both is nylon, which was introduced in the U.S.A. by Du Pont and fairly rapidly became the dominant fiber in women’s hosiery. However, once this market was saturated, the growth curve flattened. Du Pont had anticipated this and had developed strategies for providing further increases in sales of nylon stockings by such tactics as the following:

1. Introducing a wider range of colors, leading to an increase in the number of stockings bought by each user and a tendency to wear different colors with different outer garments.

2. Developing new uses, such as stretch stockings and socks. In addition, they moved into other fields such as tyre cord and carpets. In this way nylon sales showed an overlapping series of life-cycle curves, giving a continuing upward trend.

The nylon success story depended both upon changing the product for existing users and making it suitable for whole new markets. Changing products for existing markets can be done in a number of ways, in particular by improvements in quality, features, and/or style.