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Can improved work-life balance reduce the risk of occupational injuries?

In order to run an efficient and profitable business, an employer must always take steps to streamline operations and remain current on today's modern business practices. Interestingly, one area in particular that employers across the United States are now paying closer attention to is work-life balance, meaning providing employees with the tools to be as productive as possible, but also allowing them to put their work aside when they are finished and enjoy their family life.

While it may be easy to dismiss the idea of work-life balance as some sort of fad among a select group of employers, consider a recent study commissioned by Workplace Options, which determined that 43 percent of employees reported an increase in work-life benefits as compared to their first full-time job.

Perhaps even more interesting, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently found that employers who provide employees with a greater work-life balance often reduce the number of serious work injuries.

"The protection and improvement of the well-being of all people who work are goals shared by workers, their families and employers," said Dr. John Howard, NIOSH Director. "There is increasing evidence that the work environment and the overall well-being of the workers within it are strongly connected, and many employers are offering family-friendly benefits and programs for their employees."

Why then would employees be less likely to suffer work injuries because of a better work-life balance?

Experts indicate that decreased levels of stress regarding both work life and family life perhaps makes employees more cognizant of safety compliance and more willing to observe safety protocol as they are not otherwise preoccupied.

NIOSH has provided five simple tips that employers can take to help improve work-life balance for employees:

  1. Instruct both managers and supervisors to be more accepting/encouraging in the areas of work and family
  2. Provide employees with more control over their work schedule
  3. Establish a resource guide designed for employees and their families
  4. Act as a role model for employees on how to maintain a proper work-life balance
  5. Encourage and facilitate flexible schedules

Stay tuned for more our workers' compensation defense blog ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Sources:

EHS Today, "Employers: Encourage work-life balance to reduce injury risks," Laura Walter, July 17, 2012

EHS Today, "Work-life balance has improved for U.S. employees," Laura Walter, June 25, 2012

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