close up of builder holding hardhat at buildingIt’s no secret that the different parts of our lives are all connected. Even if you don’t bring your work home with you in a briefcase, the spillover between the professional and personal is unavoidable. With that being the case, the way we look at workplace safety should also be part of a bigger picture of general wellness. Some common health issues we might consider include:

Insufficient Sleep. No matter how much coffee has been brewed, insufficient sleep will take a toll on anyone. That’s not good, because studies have indicated that only about 60% of the country’s sleepers are getting the seven hours of nightly shut-eye recommended by physicians. If you apply that to a 10-person workplace, that means almost half the employees are probably displaying symptoms like reduced cognitive function and a higher chance of becoming distracted while taking more risks.

Overweight or obese. Among other health issues, obesity has been linked to muscular and joint problems, a higher risk of cardiac illness and reduced mobility. The musculoskeletal effects of obesity are some of the most relevant when it comes to on-the-job injuries. The increased strain placed on an overweight person’s muscles and bones opens up the chance of sustaining a strain or sprain while performing work-related tasks. What’s more, chronic obesity has been linked to both decreased productivity at work as well as higher average healthcare costs — both things clearly pertaining to an individual’s professional life.

Drug and alcohol addiction. Dealing with addiction can be incredibly difficult. It’s also highly necessary. Beyond personal effects, addicted individuals are up to three times more likely to get hurt in the workplace. Addiction also causes about $263 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. on an annual basis. In Delaware, only about 10 percent of people with an addiction receive treatment.

A manager only has so much sway with employees, but considering the larger context of workplace safety is an important part of risk management. Employers can do this by making staff aware of the resources available — either through company benefits or in the wider community — and keeping an eye on some of the factors employees might bring to work.

66985064 - two professional business people shaking handsDo you need to hire a new employee? The process of advertising a job, screening applicants, scheduling interviews and making the final selection of a new employee creates a level of risk. As a small business owner, you have many legal responsibilities under federal employment anti-discrimination laws.

That’s why we have assembled a detailed, multi-part education program for our clients called “Work Smart,” that’s filled with documented smart business practices in every area, including hiring. Companies can use this information to build more risk-proof activities and procedures, avoiding potential business risks such as asking prohibited questions during the application process.

When hiring, there’s also the risk, of course, that you will select an employee that isn’t a good fit for your business. That’s why we wanted to share with you four qualities that studies show can help you make a successful hire, whatever your industry:

Initiative. Does the job applicant have a history of volunteering for whatever work needs to be done, not just the jobs that are the easiest or that will earn kudos? This is a good measure of the applicant’s initiative.

Adaptability. Do they view failures as opportunities to grow and succeed or are they afraid to take risks? Do they manage change or do they seem to avoid it? Are they annoyed by day-to-day hassles or do they approach them with a cheerful attitude? No one wants to work with someone who can’t adapt to changing conditions or has a dour attitude.

Empathy. People who regularly seek out opportunities to help other people can be valuable additions to most any team.

A positive attitude. Positive people view challenges as opportunities to learn, adapt, and succeed. Positive attitudes can be contagious among co-workers. As managers, people with great attitudes often are more apt to demonstrate to their workers that they have faith in their abilities to handle challenges and make important decisions. Who wouldn’t want to work with that type of person?