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A Healthy Workplace is a Safer Workplace

Categories: Our Company

A person’s physical and mental health directly affects her or his ability to work safely. This is why our well-being and safety initiatives go hand in hand. By helping to keep our colleagues healthy, we’re creating a safer workplace at Domtar.

“It makes sense,” says Larry Warren, senior director for health and safety at Domtar. “Our experience shows that colleagues who suffer from fatigue are more accident-prone, increasing the risk of injury for themselves and their coworkers.”

Likewise, the emotional and physical symptoms of stress, such as frustration, anxiety, muscle pain and headaches, can cause distraction and poor decision-making, creating unsafe working conditions. When our colleagues come to work physically and mentally prepared, we can minimize these situations, Warren says, creating a safer workplace for everyone.

Well-Being Program Encourages Healthy Behaviors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers many recommendations on how to improve one’s health through personal lifestyle behaviors. Recognizing the effect lifestyle can have on health and safety, our well-being program encourages our colleagues across the company to adopt healthy habits, whether by losing weight, managing stress or becoming more active.

The program offers an online platform and a mobile application with tools and easy-to-use resources to help employees set and reach well-being goals. Employees can track health and fitness data, follow program activities, obtain daily health tips customized to their interests and earn points that they can redeem for rewards.

To support these virtual tools, we have an on-the-ground network of Well-Being Champions. Every office and facility has at least one dedicated volunteer who promotes well-being and organizes local activities, from annual health screenings to fun competitions and challenges.

Through these efforts, we’ve been recognized as one of the healthiest employers by business publications in St. Louis and the Charlotte and Raleigh regions of North Carolina.

Creating a Safer Workplace

Our safety and well-being teams have made a conscious effort to better integrate their programs through shared objectives, incorporating well-being into safety training and discussions throughout the organization. The goal is to create a healthier, safer workplace for our colleagues.

Earlier this year, the two groups worked together to promote the connection between safety and psychological well-being during our annual Safety Emphasis Week. Under the theme of “Safe and Sound,” employees were encouraged to pay close attention to their surroundings and report concerns related to both site security and psychological well-being.

Victoria Buck, who oversees our well-being program globally, says she’s been pleased by the support of facility managers across the company. “They believe that promoting healthy lifestyles supports our long-term safety performance and overall employee engagement,” she says. “Together we are working to refine and expand our well-being program to get more employees to join and actively participate.”

“Our approach to creating a safer workplace is rooted in the principles of human performance improvement [HPI],” Warren says. “HPI is centered on the idea that all people make mistakes, but that errors are predictable, preventable and manageable through investigation and learning. When human error leads to a safety incident, we take the time to understand the factors involved. We identify the issues and take appropriate actions.”

Learn more about how we’re creating a healthier, safer workplace for all: