Overview: An employer is required under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act to provide a safe and healthful workplace for its employees. In doing so, an employer may benefit from having more productive employees, less absenteeism and lower health care costs, to name but a few.
When it comes to managing employee health matters, there are different concerns that must be considered, including those related to everyday health issues, emergency medical situations, mental health, substance abuse and the environment. Having an employee health program that addresses the various health concerns will mean that the workplace is prepared for any contingency. An employee health plan may include training workers in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver, installing an AED, teaching proper employee hygiene, having flexible work schedules, establishing Employee Assistance Programs and Wellness Programs and creating no-smoking environments.
When addressing the health concerns of employees, it is critical that an employer consider the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its obligations and responsibilities under the law. In addition, it is also important that an employer takes steps to protect the employee and avoid discrimination and retaliation claims as a result of any perceived or actual health issue.
Trends: Many states and municipalities ban smoking in the workplace. In recent years, some states are expanding the ban to include electronic cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, and vaping devices. However, regardless of whether state law allows smoking in the workplace, an employer should consider prohibiting smoking and limiting it to the outside or in a designated smoking area.
Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect measures to protect against the transmission of the Zika virus.
This How To details the steps an employer should take to protect its employees and educate them on ways to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus.
With confirmed cases of the Zika virus now in the US, employers should consider how it affects their workplaces. XpertHR rounds up resources to help an employer protect its employees and understand its legal obligations.
XpertHR has added a new Hot Topic, How To and FAQs and updated relevant resources to assist employers in addressing the Zika virus in the workplace.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee health programs. Support on keeping employees healthy and productive while at work.