The SAFER report highlights the lessons learned from the employer response to COVID-19 to date and provides guidance on future pandemic-related workplace safety
SAN DIEGO, September 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Safety Council, the nation’s leading advocate for workplace safety, released a new report Friday that found that 50 percent of large employers (250+ employees) have seen increases in absenteeism and work-related incidents. mental health or disability during a pandemic. The report was prepared as part of the work done by him SAFER initiative, a comprehensive effort aimed at helping employers prioritize workplace safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NSC’s findings show that one in four employers with an employee assistance program implemented the program for the first time, and two-thirds expanded their offerings during the pandemic.
“The mental health needs of workers have changed, as have many other aspects of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The loss of an office, outside social interactions and child care support, as well as hybrid work and higher overall stress, have made burnout a more prominent threat to the US workforce,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC President and CEO. “The mental health impacts we’ve seen over the past few years are long-term, and so must employers’ efforts to support their employees.”
Feeling insecure at work, whether physical or psychological, is associated with negative mental health consequences. The NSC found that people who felt insecure at work were two to three times more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders than those who did not.
Additional findings from SAFER studies highlight how critical a role employers play in helping their workforce achieve and maintain full vaccination status. The workers surveyed had a higher rate of vaccination than the general population, due in part to employer policies that encourage or require vaccination. What’s more, people who received information about vaccine safety and efficacy from their employers were better at identifying misinformation and were more likely to get vaccinated, and vaccine policies such as paid time off to get the vaccine – promote higher vaccine uptake among those who were not required to be vaccinated. On average, employers with vaccine requirements retained 99% of their workforce.
Findings from SAFER the report informed the Council on developing recommended actions for employers to prioritize workers’ mental health and well-being, as well as long-term COVID-19 safety practices. Recommendations include:
- Support the mental health and well-being of workers during the pandemic and beyond. Consider resources like NIOSH General health of workers® Workbook in implementing interventions to assess and support the health of workers in your organization.
- Periodically reevaluate your infectious disease control measures to future-proof your workplace for new, more contagious variants and future disease outbreaks.
- Monitor the usual mode of transmission of new variants of COVID-19 and emerging diseases and assess whether the priority of new control measures should be aimed at mitigating airborne or fomite transmission.
- If your organization has vaccine requirements, routinely update policies when new CDC guidelines on booster doses become available.
- Continue to implement policies that encourage vaccination, as workers need booster doses to maintain current vaccination status.
- Reducing barriers that prevent working parents from vaccinating their children, such as providing PTO or on-site vaccination for families.
The SAFER the report contains data from surveys and interviews conducted between November 2021 and August 2022 with workers and employers. The data presented in this report are representative of the responses of more than 7,000 workers and 1,600 employers.
To view the full report, visit nsc.org/faforms/safer-covid-workplace-lessons-learned-report.
For the National Security Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading non-profit safety advocacy organization – and has been for more than 100 years. As a mission-driven organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury by focusing our efforts on workplace, road and disability. We create a culture of safety to keep people not only safer in the workplace, but also outside the workplace so they can live life to the fullest.
SOURCE National Security Council