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September 5, 2023

10 tips for integrating employee wellness and safety

Construction workers stretching

What do safety goggles and a good night's rest have in common? Both can help protect an employee from the serious consequences of a workplace injury. Employee wellness and safety, traditionally considered as independent initiatives, have overlapping goals, and many businesses are starting to see the benefits of workplace wellness programs.

By breaking down the silos between the two programs, employers can reap the benefits of lower workers' compensation and health insurance costs, increased productivity and improved morale.

Keep these 10 tips in mind to help integrate employee wellness and safety programs in the workplace.

Tip 1: Involve employees. Invite employees to help design, plan, implement and evaluate safety and wellness programs. Forming a committee of representatives from all levels of the organization can encourage employment engagement.

Tip 2: Involve management. Emphasize the financial impact and make a business case for safety and wellness programs. Collaborate with front-line management to identify potential conflicts between program activities and production goals.

Tip 3: Develop a clear plan with adequate resources. Set well-defined goals and commit the time and money necessary to achieve them. If funding is an issue, set smaller initial goals with the intention of scaling up after you have established the value of each program.

Tip 4: Initiate collaboration. Encourage communication between human resources, safety and other departments that have employee health responsibilities. Communication allows the departments to explore potential areas of collaboration.

Tip 5: Focus on organizational solutions. Explore strategies that support employees' efforts to change their behaviors. For example, provide healthy snacks in your workplace to support your wellness program's nutrition initiative. You can find more ideas in our tips for a healthier workplace article.

Tip 6: Customize your design. Each employer has a unique workplace and workforce. Customize your programs to address the hazards specific to your organization.

Tip 7: Provide appropriate incentives. Financial incentives can improve employee participation in wellness programs. Your incentives should reward safe and healthy behaviors rather than punishing employees for becoming sick or injured.

Tip 8: Protect confidentiality. You must protect employee privacy to ensure compliance with legal requirements, such as HIPPA and the ADA. Confidentiality may also encourage employee participation. Consider using online or third-party providers to minimize the health information collected by your company.

Tip 9: Stay flexible. Your workforce will change over time. Check in with your employees periodically to gather feedback and adjust your program to continue meeting their needs.

Tip 10: Evaluate your programs. Continuously evaluate your programs' effectiveness based on the goals you established in tip 3, and share the results with employees and management. Try to evaluate the program’s return on investment if possible. Look for reductions in sick leave use, absenteeism, employee turnover and health care claims.

Integrating safety and wellness will create meaningful change in your workplace. You can find more safety and health resources by logging in to your policyholder account at and selecting the Safety tab. If you have any questions or need assistance accessing the safety and employer resources catalog, contact our safety services support center at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723) or