Preventing cancer at work: 6 tips and strategies
Workers are an asset to an organization— the success and failure of an organization heavily depend on the dedication and competencies of its employees. Getting to know about the cancer diagnosis of a worker is devastating for the victim and the employer. But, news about someone getting cancer from their workplace is becoming frequent. It is alarming to know that worldwide 742,000 people die of cancer due to work-related activities.
The loss of a hardworking, qualified, experienced worker can cause distress to the growth of a department, a unit, or a whole company (depending on the role of the employee). But who is responsible for preventing cancer in employees? Is it the employer? Or the employee. It is actually the duty of both the employees and the employers to prevent cancer at work. Here are a few tips and strategies that both can adhere to in order to ensure safety at the workplace.
- Provide a safe workplace for the employees
The foremost responsibility of an employer is to provide a safe working place for their employees. The operations of the workplace should not include using or inhaling cancer-causing substances. Many employers recognize their corporate social responsibility, but others do not pay much attention to the lives of their employees. Asbestos exposure is one of the many examples where employers’ deliberate negligence has caused cancer in workers— in this case, mesothelioma.
The link between asbestos and mesothelioma is proven by medical science. Therefore, the victims can litigate the employers for their negligence and demand compensation. Compensation for mesothelioma navy veterans is available as per the law of several countries. In contrast, civilians can get it through personal injury claims or asbestos trust funds claims.
Cancer diagnosis, including mesothelioma, can be devastating for the victims and families. Therefore, companies must pay heed to their responsibility to protect their employees.
- Provide cancer screening services for your employees
Another way is to provide free screening services for the employees. Often, employers’ deliberate negligence is not the cause of a cancer diagnosis in workers. Instead, it happens due to factors not in their control. So, how can they know if one of their employees might develop cancer soon? Arranging for free cancer screening drives can be one of the preventive measures.
All employers must collaborate with cancer hospitals to make periodic cancer screening mandatory for their employees. Early identification and treatment are the only way to catch and cure cancer. Because once it starts multiplying and spreading to other parts of your body, treatment becomes only as effective as improving your symptoms and quality of life.
- Spread cancer awareness among employees
Employers can collaborate with cancer organizations to arrange regular cancer awareness drives and lectures to spread awareness among the employees. All employees must be encouraged to take care of their health, undergo regular screenings and tests, and be careful about their lifestyles. For instance, employees can be made aware of all the risk factors of cancer, including obesity which can cause thirteen different types of cancers.
Moreover, if employees are committed to the health and well-being of their employees, they can encourage to spare some time and attend their monthly, biannual, and annual medical checkups. One way to encourage them is by giving them paid leaves specifically for this purpose. If employees fear a salary deduction, they may be less inclined to care for themselves.
- Provide a stress-free environment for your employees
Indeed, stress does not directly cause cancer; still, stress can reduce immunity, which is your combat mechanism against diseases. But a person with a weaker immunity is at a much greater risk of developing cancer. So, though not directly related, stress is related to increasing your chances of a cancer diagnosis.
Workplace stress is a common phenomenon. The burden of stringent timelines, quality control measures, etc., are just a few ways workplace causes stress in employees. Employees must provide a stress-free environment by finding creative ways to reduce burnout. Employee gatherings, workplace recreational trips, reducing unnecessary workload, and pressure of deadlines are a few ways to reduce stress.
Moreover, develop a positive and collaborative culture and do not encourage antagonism, undue competition, and rivalry among employees. These activities create hostile forces such as stress and deter employee productivity. A positive and cooperative culture keeps employees satisfied with their work and is a strong stress-buster.
- Strictly adhere to no smoking policy for your place
Smoking is one of the biggest culprits for many different types of cancers, including lung and mouth cancer. But many other cancers are linked to smoking too. Tobacco smoke has 7000 chemicals, and 70 of them are cancer-causing. These grim facts make it essential for employers to ensure that their workers remain far away from smoking.
Apart from its detrimental impact on health, employee exposure to smoke has financial implications for the company. The healthcare expenses of employees with smoking habits are 12 times more than that of non-smokers. So, develop a tobacco-free environment for your employees, and provide help and resources to encourage employees to quit smoking.
- Become an example
Becoming an example is the best way to motivate others to adhere to a healthy regime and avoid diseases, including cancer. When employees are made to undergo cancer screening or attend seminars, management must be part of these activities to convey the meaningfulness of these activities. Similarly, you cannot impose non-smoking when you cannot do it for yourself. So, lead others by example to be more effective in your endeavors.
Providing a safe working environment is at the helm of ensuring the retention of healthy employees. The company’s environment can instill health consciousness in the employees, making them care for their health. At the same time, undertaking the above-mentioned measures can help employers develop a cancer-free environment.
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