Employees Participating in Change: Empowerment Approach to Im ...

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  • Title: Employees Participating in Change: Empowerment Approach to Improving Staff Health, Safety and Wellness
  • Author(s): Dina Idriss-Wheeler
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Health, Wellness & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society
  • Keywords: Employee Participation, Health Safety, Wellness Intervention, Safety Climate, Musculoskeletal, Long-Term Care
  • Volume: 5
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2015
  • ISSN: 2156-8960 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2156-9053 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v05i04/41138
  • Citation: Idriss-Wheeler, Dina. 2015. "Employees Participating in Change: Empowerment Approach to Improving Staff Health, Safety and Wellness." The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society 5 (4): 1-14. doi:10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v05i04/41138.
  • Extent: 14 pages

Abstract

This study focused on a participatory health and safety intervention implemented in a large urban long-term care center in Ontario, Canada. The Employees Participating in Change (EPIC) program is intended to reduce musculoskeletal disorders by providing staff with the tools and authority to make changes to enhance their work environment. The sample included employees from facility management, home support services, nursing and food services. Process evaluation was used to determine the success of EPIC at improving staff health, safety and wellness. Organizational safety climate, employee perception of risk and awareness of safe work practices were examined upon implementation and six months post implementation. Through the program, staff identified and enacted solutions to hazards that had potential for long-term injuries if left unchanged. They indicated that EPIC increased their awareness of their role and involvement in safety and strengthened the vision of the organization. Facilitators to program implementation included: dedicated, knowledgeable and committed staff and management, senior leadership support, strong communication, and a pre-existing safety climate. The study demonstrated that safety interventions should target high probability low severity hazards (i.e. repetitive bending, reaching, lifting, pushing, pulling motions) that have long-term consequences. Advancing employee health, safety and wellness through comprehensive empowerment programs can help mitigate workplace hazards and enhance the safety climate to positively influence patient care outcomes.