WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY
Unifying Health and Safety
UL innovated software and information solutions that integrate health and safety management to enhance employee wellbeing and business performance.
WHY UNIFYING HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT MATTERS
Occupational health and safety management has traditionally focused on safety issues because these are generally easier for organizations to identify and deal with.1 However, a healthy workplace is — by definition — a safe workplace, a fact that underscores the importance of integrating an organization’s health and safety efforts.2 Additionally, while occupational health and safety management has not previously been seen as a way for businesses to maximize the output of their workers, it has become clear that integrating an organization’s health and safety functions can substantially improve worker conditions and, relatedly, the company’s own performance.
Today’s workforce is evolving. More than half of the workers in the U.S. today are over 40, and the median age continues to rise.3 In fact, by 2015, one out of every three U.S. workers will be over 50.4 Older workers have a greater risk of illness and injury and slower recovery times.5 Workers over 45 years of age spend 72% more time away from work due to workplace injuries or illnesses than do their younger counterparts.6 Importantly, older workers tend to have greater experience and institutional knowledge than their younger colleagues, and the loss of time caused by the absence of an organization’s most highly valued workers can also have a significant negative impact on productivity and operational costs.7 In addition, younger American workers are increasingly less healthy and bring with them a host of modern health-related challenges. They are more likely than their counterparts in other wealthy countries to experience illnesses, injuries, and premature death.8 Relative to occupational health and safety, the stakes today are higher than ever before.
WHAT DID UL DO?
Driven by a commitment to enhance the well-being of employees and eradicate preventable workplace incidents, we closely tracked market trends, listened to customers and examined their business problems. This led us to the realization that integrating the management of health and safety functions would be more potent than the approach employed by the vast majority of organizations, in which these elements are distinct and disconnected.9 With this insight as our guiding principle, we innovated software and information solutions that uniquely integrate health and safety information. We continuously evolve our solution, combining the perspective and skills of our workplace health and safety experts, software engineers and eLearning specialists10 to provide companies with an aggregated, company-wide view of their health and safety performance that:
- Supports and automates workflow
- Provides better insights and visibility to identify root causes
- Directs relevant eLearning when and where it is most needed
- Facilitates more cross-functional decision making11
UL’s unified software enables businesses to manage their health and safety efforts more effectively across the enterprise.
Our solutions demonstrate that unifying health and safety management is also more efficient and cost-effective. Advantages include:
- Reducing the number and redundancy of deployed systems to eliminate the duplication of separate health and safety management systems typically managed through different organizational silos
- Improving reporting, data-sharing, internal benchmarking, transparency, communication and accountability because there is greater visibility into the data
- Sharpening the breadth and depth of risk analysis to target prevention efforts by engaging a broader base of employees to contribute observations and key insights that can aid in reducing risk12
Our integrated health and safety management software can play a central role in maintaining and measuring both the occupational and the overall health and safety of employees. For example, companies that require employees to visit an occupational health clinic annually for general wellness exams are able to categorize employees by health risk and track the wellness of the entire organization over time, and can thus identify potential issues and effectively mitigate the risks. This is critical because employee wellness has a direct financial impact related to lost time, workers’ compensation, injury treatment, etc.13
Our software also enables companies to implement a behavioral safety program. Such a program would combine training on safety best practices with an observation-based reporting system that focuses on near misses and unsafe conditions and processes as well as injuries and incidents. Tracking these incidents allows a company to correct safety issues before workers are injured. By integrating health and safety information, our software enables everything from the scheduling of clinic appointments to the tracking of health data to the management of both safety training and an observation-based reporting program to be centrally managed for optimal performance.14
In helping businesses integrate health and safety, UL is enabling them to more effectively deal with the growing challenges related to their aging and less healthy workforce. Our innovative software uniquely aggregates health and safety data. This not only improves operational optimization but also helps detect and identify emerging issues through better tracking and reporting of critical data. This, in turn, gives organizations a new ability to improve business performance, while helping to ensure a safer, healthier and more productive workplace.15