SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine
5150 Broadway #493
San Antonio, TX 78209
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In the oil business, time is money, both of which are lost when employees get sick. Hauling oil and handling the systems associated with it is often a dangerous process. According to OSHA, hydrogen sulfide is a leading health hazard in this area, with silica and diesel particulate matter following closely behind. Since employers cannot force employees to care for themselves, managers must make gentle suggestions for employee care. Taking care of one’s health also helps keep the body and mind young. Employees are often encouraged to care for themselves when they realize that the process will help them fight aging as well as keep them consistently productive.
Any encouraging health program begins with an outline of the available benefits. Many employees may not realize that one small effort to exercise in the morning will increase productivity all day. A simple workout will help oil workers avoid strains from the intense workout they get working with pipelines and other heavy materials. Encourage employees to take a short walk before beginning work to help increase blood flow and stretch the muscles. The sense of accomplishment after completing some form of exercise first thing in the morning will encourage employees to keep achieving throughout the day.
Encourage employees to get a flu shot every year. Make it convenient by offering the shot onsite, or by offering a voucher to get it elsewhere. This will help the bulk of your team stay healthy and productive. Make sure it is clearly a choice, not a requirement, so the employee has control over his or her own health.
It is important to balance sick time with productivity delicately. If an employee is ill, letting him or her stay home ensures that the bulk of your team will not also fall ill. When a sick employee comes to work, it is inevitable that every other team member will eventually have to call off work, and this is a direct hit to productivity over time. Allow employees to confidently take sick days to protect other employees and overall production rates.
Help employees move away from their stations and stretch by offering breaks every two hours. This will help increase circulation and overall focus. The employees will come back from breaks with a clear head and a renewed energy. Offer ten to fifteen minute breaks every two hours outside the normal half-hour to hour lunch time break. You’ll notice a difference in output from employees right away.
Help employees improve health by offering smoking cessation options. This includes incentives to quit or vouchers for aids in quitting smoking. Sponsor other healthy choices as well, such as purchasing healthy snack options for meetings and removing vending machines filled with junk food. While you cannot force employees to make healthy choices, you can encourage them by setting an example and offering options. Entrepreneur Magazine reported that the Canadian phone company, TELUS, provides workout equipment for employees. Access to workout equipment, or discounts to local gyms, will help oil workers stay fit and healthy between time on the rigs.
Offer healthy tips in the newsletter, post encouragements near a central employee station, and offer group activities such as walks for charity. Lead by example by quitting bad habits in favor of healthy choices. Make participation in healthy activities fun, such as joining a weekend volleyball league as a group. When the manager builds an environment of healthy living, it becomes contagious. Set the example to reap the results.
Setting the example and being a leader is part of keeping employees healthy. Oil workers are especially prone to physical injuries, so learning how to stay healthy must be a focus in this industry.
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