What comes to mind when you think about yoga? You may think that yoga pants are comfortable on a lazy weekend at home but you would never wear them to work. You may think of some of your more zen friends and then laugh. Perhaps you don’t think yoga is the right form of exercise for you, but recent studies may make you think twice about that assumption.
It turns out that there are many physical and mental benefits of performing yoga on a routine basis, and those benefits aren’t limited to your personal life. More and more businesses are thinking about offering yoga programmes as employee incentives because they increase employee health, increase productivity within the workforce and can potentially reduce the number of injuries suffered on and off the job.
Yoga programmes are now available through live instructors, DVDs and internet-based courses. You can even perform yoga with a cheap mat or carpeting and written instructions. Something as simple as a booklet that contains pictures of various yoga poses could potentially become a powerful tool for a business interested in keeping workers health and happy so that they report to work more often and work harder when they are on the clock.
Yoga Relieves Stress, Promotes Happiness
In 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a report that showed workers missing five or more consecutive days from work were more likely to do so as a result of stress or mental health issues than as a result of a physical injury. This signifies a shift from physical injuries causing the majority of work absences to mental distress causing a large percentage of absences.
This is an important shift because work absenteeism costs businesses a lot of money due to loss of productivity. According to research completed by Safe Work Australia, absenteeism costs businesses more than $10 billion every year, so it is in the best interest of every business to minimize work call offs to the greatest extent possible.
Researchers are now starting to explore the physical and mental response to yoga as well as other forms of exercise. One study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people performing yoga experienced a more significant boost in happiness than those completing a walking programme. There are other studies starting to surface which also validate the claim that yoga boosts positive thinking and increases overall sensations of happiness and well being.
This is important because workers are now under more stress in the workplace than ever before. The amount of stress experienced is even greater for employees and contractors working on or within close proximity of heavy machinery or toxic chemicals. The more hazardous or dangerous the work environment, the more stress employees are likely to feel while on the job.
Stress also comes in the form of harassments, conflicts with colleagues and pressure to complete duties that are potentially unethical. This type of emotional stress is just as debilitating as the stress of physical danger when it is suffered on a routine basis over a long period of time.
Since more workers are now calling off work due to the mental and physical effects of stress, it’s important for businesses to help workers fight off those effects. Yoga is proving to be one of the most cost-effective options, and it has many other benefits for employers and employees.
Yoga for Pain Management and Prevention
One of the biggest benefits to performing yoga on a routine basis is the stretching and strengthening of muscles throughout the body. It is important to strengthen the back and other core muscles in order to perform the poses correctly, and that offers three benefits for employers and employees:
Stronger, more flexible back and core muscles reduce the chance of employees suffering injuries in the workplace. Employers invest in employee physical fitness in order to benefit from reduced rates of injury which cost the company money.
When an injury is sustained at or outside of work, stronger muscles increase the chances of a fast return to health. This limits the amount of time employees may need to spend away from work when injuries do occur, increasing productivity and saving companies money.
Employees suffering from chronic back over a long period of time can learn to manage the pain naturally through yoga, allowing them to work even while in pain. This is beneficial to the employee in need of a paycheck and the employer in need of active, productive workers.
Yoga and ROI
Is it possible that paying for yoga programmes could provide a substantial return of investment, or ROI, for employers? Could something as simple as offering yoga classes for all employees once a week improve the health and increase productivity for all workers within a business? Research is showing that yoga is beneficial physically and mentally to workers, so employers can consider it wise to invest in the health and well being of their employees in this manner.
The payback comes through reduced employee absenteeism, fewer workplace injuries, and more productive work from employees when they are o the job. As employees maintain healthier bodyweights, feel more energetic and increase muscular strength, they also start to feel happier and more content. That means they can focus on their jobs and put more effort into their duties, and that benefits employers tremendously.
There is no way to eliminate all forms of stress currently affecting workers, but companies can potentially benefit from keeping workers on their toes with regular yoga classes. In many studies completed to date, the best results came from weekly programmes featuring one or two classes of 50-60 minutes each.
There are many ways that employers can offer that type of programme to employees either through live courses offered on the job or DVDs, mats, printouts and other materials provided for practice outside of the workplace. Some companies may even find it beneficial to offer incentives to employees embracing their health and wellness by picking up yoga classes on their own.
A roofing company and its director have been fined a total of $100,000 after a worker suffered head and neck injuries when he fell through a roof. The Mallon Company, trading as Frontline Roofing, and director Michael Moore pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday to failing to provide a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a contractor.
The company was engaged in August 2010 to replace the roofing of a commercial premises after a hailstorm. Mallon engaged Debri to perform the re-roofing and Terry’s Crane Hire to provide a crane. Debri removed asbestos sheeting from the rear of the roof and moved the wrapped sheets to the front.
A crane operator employed by Terry’s and a 19-year-old dogger, who was a contractor engaged by Terry’s, began removing the asbestos sheets and landing the packs of new metal sheets. The 19-year-old accessed the roof to guide the crane operator and was warned by the Debri employees to be aware of the hazardous rusty tin sheets and damaged polycarbonate.
He walked across the damaged sheets and stepped onto the end of one of them while trying to remove the slings from a pack of metal sheets. The sheet collapsed and he fell to the cement floor, about 3.3m below, suffering serious head and neck injuries. Safety mesh was installed below the roof, but not in the frontage area, although there were plans to install it once the asbestos had been removed. Mallon was fined $70,000 and Moore was fined $30,000. They were also ordered to pay $2200 in costs. Terry’s and its director were fined $71,000 in June, and Debri is also due in court over the matter at a later date.
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A similar incident occurred recently when a concrete slab fell 12 metres on to an Ultimo man, after its chains became loose.The man was guiding crane operators when he was struck by dislodged concrete . Fortunately he survived, but suffered back and hip injuries.
Police detectives and WorkCover representatives are looking into possible causes of the accidents.
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According to a spokesperson for Ambulance Victoria revealed that the paramedics were called to Thorton Engineering early in the morning.
Upon arrival they discovered the man had serious crush injuries to his leg. He was rushed to Geelong Hospital and was said to be in stable albeit, serious condition.
WorkSafe Spokseperson Rosanna Bonacurrso stated that the watchdog organisation was notified of the incident at the Corior workplace. Bonacurso stated
“It’s believed a 27-year-old worker suffered injuries to his right leg after it was caught between a roller and steel product.
“A WorkSafe inspector visited the workplace this morning and is making inquiries.”
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Soon after receiving criticism for “high handed statements”, WorkSafe ACT will be auditing all dry cleaners throughout the territory. WorkSafe has already issued approximately 60 improvement notices in just six inspections.
Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe stated that he was ”appalled” at the first results of the audit, which were launched in response to a near-fatal carbon monoxide leak from a Woden dry cleaner.
The Drycleaning Institute of Australia expressed their disappointed by the alleged lack of communication from WorkSafe ACT pertaining to any breaches.
Chief executive officer Philip Johns said the Work Safety Commissioner’s comments were “accusing” the entire industry of being responsible, despite the industry’s efforts to work very hard to be compliant with all safety laws.
”We would hope that the authorities come to us if there are any particular breaches, rather than making some fairly high-handed statements about getting your house in order, otherwise cop a $250,000 fine,” Mr Johns said.
”A little bit of working together is actually going to help us achieve more,” he said.
Johns revealed that the industry will conduct their own audit to address any potential safety issues.
McCabe said on Wednesday he would be more than happy to assist the industry with the internal audit.
He said it was to premature to commence talks with the industry, given the audit was still in its early stages.
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