Understanding employee health screening and its benefits
Date: January 21st, 2021
The health of employees should be prioritized in any work environment. Healthy staffs are more productive at work and rarely becomes absent. Body health is the foundation of a creative intellectual personality.
This fact is applicable across both professional and personal life. Therefore, investing time and resources in employee health screening needs to be a consistent habit in an organization; however, it is among the most neglected areas in our tasks.
In this regard, this post will outline details about employee health screening, its benefits, and types of health screening measures. Read on to find out more.
Understanding employee health screening.
Employee health screening is the process of performing different checks and tests to ensure that your employees are healthy and fit enough to be allowed into the workplace. It is also essential in protecting everyone's health safety and reducing the transmission of diseases in the workplace.
Coupled with the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for companies to incorporate health screening as part of the employee wellness program is essential now more than ever. So, with consistent checkpoint screenings, you not only create a safe workplace, but you also make employees psychological prepared to do their work perfectly.
When are employees required to undergo health screening?
Staff could be required to undergo health assessments at different stages of employment. This can include baseline screening or pre-employment tests, periodic intervals at work, after getting to work from an extended leave due to sickness or health complications, and when an employee leaves the company exit screening.
Pre-employment health screening assesses the physical and medical aptitude for a task and evaluates if the pre-existing condition might put them at risk, or the job condition might worsen their health
Depending on the company a person is employed in, employees must undergo periodic occupational health screenings. This should be done frequently to other departments or sectors while it may not be regular to other departments.
For instance, it is tenable to perform screening routinely to those working in mines or noisy environments than those working as front office managers or receptionists.
Also, it is required that an employee undergo health checks when they are returning to work after a long sickness absence. This is important in gauging if they are suitable for work again.
In other instances, staff switching jobs or those leaving their organizations are subjected to health checks before going out. Again, this is done to ensure that people coming from high-risk areas do not spread diseases to people and places.
Apart from job-related risks that lead to poor health, lifestyle habits and their changes can also affect employees’ health.
Employee health screening allows for early detection of such complications, thus facilitating the application of measures to avoid further deterioration of the condition or development of other sicknesses.
Types of employee health screening measures.
Employee health screening measures in a workplace can be in different forms since there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Different factors like company size, location, facility restrictions, comfort levels, etc., can dictate the type of screening measures that make sense for a particular set of people. Below are some of the standard screening processes you can set in your office to protect your employees.
Temperature screening checks at entry points.
Fever and chills are the most common symptoms that are first experienced by people developing health complications. This is even more important now in the era of coronavirus.
Temperature screening enables for a first and immediate response should the person's temperature shows abnormality. Implement a temperature testing system at the access point at a distance of two meters and configure it to report the results to the workplace health office for a quick response.
Cleaning stations and hand sanitizers.
Usually, various disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and germs are spread through hands. Therefore it is imperative to frequently clean our hands to avoid the transmission of diseases in the workplaces.
According to the guidelines by CDC, routine washing of hands and cleaning of office materials is very effective in slowing down the spread of most disease-causing pathogens.
Make your workers wash their hands before getting into their respective workplaces as part of your routine screening approach. This can be achieved by a simple act of placing hand washing or a hand sanitizer at the front door.
Implement a policy on handwashing guidelines for staff after using office equipment or touching surfaces all the time.
The application of technology can be very instrumental in reducing the spread of infections in the office. Most workplace software tools are set to keep the office safe from contagious diseases like covid-19, TB, or even STDs.
When implementing a workplace software tool, ensure you go for the one that incorporates checkpoint into your already existing measures that your employees follow before coming into the office.
Types of questions to expect during employee health screening.
During screening sessions, employees should expect to be asked questions about their medical and their family’s to develop a history. Also, blood tests, physical checks, and even drug screening may be done.
There will be a provision for basic information like name, job title, and a working station. Their previous employment history may also be requested to give insights if these past jobs may affect their performance in the current position.
Also, employees need to expect questions about their current physical abilities like agility, vision, and any other concerns along that line. They will be asked about current and past illness, allergies, and history of vaccines you have taken.
After finishing the screening process, the employee will be asked to complete a declaration form to confirm the integrity of the information submitted. You will get assurance of the confidentiality of the details provided at this stage.
Types of employee health screenings.
There are various health care screenings companies can implement as their employee wellness approach.
Executive health checkups.
Executives are the engine behind every operation of the organization. They spend most of their time at work, work long hours and live a hectic lifestyle. Added with personal and professional stress, executives are progressively becoming prone to risks of lifestyle diseases.
These unexpected diseases certainly mean that a company will record more absenteeism and subsequently low productivity.
Implementing an executive health checkup will help identify these problems in time and help prevent further exposure, reduce the effects and facilitate quick response solving the damage. It will also promote a stress-free productive C-suite.
This is a continuous oversight of a clinical trial process. It is performed to ensure the progression is done according to laid protocols, good clinical procedures, standard operating procedures, and legal requirements.
This type of assessment is essential across all occupations where employees are exposed to high health risks. It helps employers ensure that their prevention efforts are effective in preventing their staff from occupational dangers.
These are periodic health assessments done to determine the quality and wellbeing of your current lifestyle. Employees' lifestyle assessments are performed to identify areas of their life they need to check to improve their productivity and various abilities.
According to World Health Organization, there are more than eight factors that increase the chances of developing chronic medical conditions. Luckily, these conditions can all be addressed by employee health screening.
They include the following:
- High blood pressure.
- Lack of exercise.
- Poor diet.
- High blood sugar.
- High cholesterols.
Lifestyle assessments might involve some special tests compared to other employee health screening. The available tests include:
- Thyroid tests.
- Cholesterol level.
- Kidney test.
- Diabetes profile.
- Biophysical measurements and vitals.
- Urine tests.
- STD tests
Organizations can adopt several health check approaches, ranging from virtual assessments, walk-in clinics, or individual appointments.
Organizations can implement the one fitting them depending on different factors like the type of business, employee's pattern of work, charges involved, or the size of the entity.
Benefits of employee health screening.
A healthy employee is a valuable asset in an organization. This is because when you have a healthy team, they can do their work more efficiently, leading to increased productivity in the company.
Here are various common benefits of performing health screenings at the workplace as part of employee wellness programs.
Minimize the spread of diseases.
Everybody has a role to play in the prevention of diseases, and employees are not exempted.
With the current reality of the pandemic being far from over and the slick way pathogens spread, you may not want your workplace to a disease hotspot and end up with sick workers.
Periodic employee screening will help prevent illness, identify disease symptoms and allow for timely response to the underlying issues.
Setting up measures like handwashing points and sanitizer points will reduce the transfer of pathogens from person to person within the office. You will be able to manage the causative agents and minimize the spread,
Reduce injury and illness absenteeism.
Consistent employee health checks can also help reduce absenteeism due to illness or injury. Long-term absenteeism is a problem for everybody, from workmates to the employer.
An absent staff can miss out on essential opportunities or fall behind on some areas forcing other mates to takes excess workloads. The extra tasks create too much tension on the other employee, causing stress.
This forces the employer to pay for the absenteeism both financially to the affected and ensure the teams' morale is boosted to compensate for their absent staff.
A clear occupational health assessment allows employers to analyze their strengths to handle possible risks adequately. It also enables staff to become aware of risk factors that can lead to injuries and avoid them.
According to Australian statistics, work-related injuries and diseases eat the economy a total of $61.8 billion annually. Early detection of any health concern makes the management much easier and cost-effective too.
If you can identify the pain point or disease before it develops, you can reverse it or manage it in a better way. A consistent health screening keeps your employees updated on measures to stay safe at the workplace.
Helps employees adopt healthy lifestyles.
Performing workplace health screening informs staff about their quality of life, hence encouraging them to adopt better and healthy lifestyles. Awareness is the first move towards change.
If organizations prioritize health, they motivate their employees to assess their lifestyle habits, dietary choices, or exercise options, all of which are essential for a quality life.
For instance, if you are found to have diabetes, you will be advised to switch to a lifestyle that will drive you to maintain the condition and even be encouraged to see a GP.
Identifying and supporting mental illness.
Allowing for periodic and on-site health checks is a key player in the long-term employee mental health and wellbeing. Most of the workers' compensation claims are a result of mental diseases or problems.
Health checks help in the early detection of mental illness and complications before it aggravates to a critical or unbearable stage. And money-wise, the undetected mental condition can cause a company fortunes in compensations, treatment, and replacement of the lost talent.
Offering resources to your employees to find the help they might need in case of a mental problem protects your financial security as a company and increases productivity.
Having a stressed workforce will hinder your company's performance, but setting up a screening policy gives your workers peace of mind knowing they are well cared for. This prevents the development of mental issues like depressions, thus translating to a high-performance rate.
Support aging workforce.
According to the United States Bureau of Statistics, the number of the aging workforce has increased by 117% in the last 20 years, and the number is expected to grow.
Though the frequency of work-related injuries and illness decrease with age, the intensity of the damage is always severe for those who are older, say 65 years and above. Some of the common chronic conditions for aging people at the workplace include:
- Adult-onset diabetes.
- Lung disease.
Performing health checks to the aging workforce shows that you value them, and you don't want them to burn out mentally and physically. It guides you on how to handle them in case of emergency or health complications within the workplace.
Improves corporate image.
Displaying general human kindness and taking up a social responsibility is a good gesture of your brand to the community. When you show the world that you value your employees' health and wellbeing, you portray a picture of not being a money-hungry entity.
People will always support companies that care about the welfare of their own. And above all, everybody will love working for brands that can take any hurdle in helping them.
Moreover, everyone works to maintain their health conditions, so they'll never want to leave your brand turning into being a brand ambassador.
Retain talents in the company.
Suppose you want a flawless and straightforward way of reducing employee turnover. In that case, you need to implement employee health screening at the workplace. According to most industries, the cost of staff replacement can range between 1 and a half to two times the annual salary you pay the said staff.
This means that a staff earning $50000 may require up to $100000 to replace. Because turnovers are not cheap, every effort you make to retain an employee is worth the time and every input you may add.
Everybody loves the feeling of being an important part of a worthy movement. Employee health checks show your personal investment in your employees, giving them significant reasons for remaining part of your organization for life.
Other things you can do to improve employee health.
As an employer, you are only allowed to encourage your staff to follow healthy guidelines. However, you cannot force them to exercise or eat healthily away from the job.
While it seems that it is a difficult task to achieve this, there are other ways you can leverage to improve employee health within the workplace
Promote and support fitness.
Physical fitness is an essential aspect of every individual's health. Lack of it may deteriorate your health and lead to complications such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or even mental problems.
If employees' are not receiving enough exercise, it can result in severe health issues, which can lead to prolonged absenteeism, paralyzing the organization's productivity. Promote physical fitness in the workplace by offering rewards to healthy practices.
Encourage things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing or walking meetings, or you can set a vehicle restricted distance to allow people to walk a little distance.
Provide healthy snacks.
Everybody loves free foods, so instead of providing junky bites like pizza, switch to offering healthy snacks all through the day. This will fulfill your employee's urge for free bites while still helping them keep a healthy lifestyle at work.
Try having fruit bowls in common areas to allow them to eat at least a fruit a day. The perfect fruits for this are the ones that stay fresh for long, like bananas, apples, or oranges. You can also stock many vegetables in the company canteen or eatery to encourage people to take more of greens in their meals.
Set up a healthy work environment.
There are several things you can do in your workplace to make it a healthy environment. For example, having plants within the office areas and the surrounding workspace can help purify the air, reducing stress and noise levels hence improving productivity.
Also, you can adopt the use of standing desks to help with matters of weight gain, diabetes, and heart diseases. Create recreational facilities within the company if necessary to help people who are lazy doing exercises independently.
Implement health and wellness programs within the company.
Allow for health and wellness initiatives from within or outside to come up in the organization so employees can get time to vent out and share their concerns mutually. This will improve their grasp of risky factors to avoid and stay safe
Use signs and labels.
These are effective and cheap strategies to pass important information. They are simple and mostly depend on signs to identify hazard areas and procedures to be followed. They are better reminders and warning to everybody from inexperienced to most experienced employees.
Be open to dialogues.
Provide a channel that allows employees to report any health concerns or discuss how to implement different occupational health measures. You can nominate or appoint a safety leader to keep the leadership updated on health issues consistently.
Partner with various occupational health clinicians.
Occupational health experts can help you give you professional insights about workplace injuries and accidents. You can allow them to visit your worksite and identify high-risk injury areas, and advise on the appropriate containment measures to be observed.
Employee health screening is a vital element in the operations and productivity of any company. Workplace safety practices improve employees' health conditions leading to a number of importance to both the company and their employees.
A healthy worker is a motivated person that performs his duties effectively, leading to improved productivity. It minimizes prolonged illness-related absenteeism, improves the brand's image, and helps in retaining top talents in the organization.
Also, employee health screening encourages workers to adapt to a healthy lifestyle, know their medical status, and take charge of their health. As an employer, use other ways to keep your worksite health-friendly.
Be open for communication, partner with other occupational clinicians, offer healthy snacks and implement wellness welfare within the organization.