Sustainability in the Workplace: What Does Safety Have To Do With It?
OSHA released a White Paper last month titled, Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health. According to Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor, “Embracing safety and health as a cornerstone of sustainability is good for workers and good for business.”
Without safety and health as the cornerstone, the term sustainability is actually oxymoronic, since sustainability has to begin ‘at home’ and be a pillar of the internal culture. This type of sustainability – authentic sustainability – is a benefit to all stakeholders. Arguably, when employees perceive that their safety and health are essential values of the business that are never compromised, employee well-being is enhanced, and they are more engaged, more satisfied, and more loyal.
The business benefits, through increased productivity, improved quality and PR, lower attrition, more customers, and higher profits. Truly, there is an inextricable connection — what is good for the company IS good for the employees and visa versa. Embracing authentic sustainability leads to organizational well-being.
Ignoring authentic sustainability is often perceived as green washing. Not only is green washing obvious to employees and the public, there is scant if any benefits to stakeholders or the business – and is greatly outweighed by the potential harm.
Get OSHA Whitepaper, Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health.