BUS301 Study Guide

Unit 7: Safety, Health, and Wellness

7a. Identify and apply the concepts associated with employee safety and health in support of effectively managing human capital

  • What are two factors American workers cite as responsible for producing stress?
  • Define stressor.
  • How can positive stress help us meet our goals?
  • Compare eustress to distress.
  • Compare chronic stress to acute stress.
  • Compare hyperstress to hypostress.
  • What are some negative consequences of stress on the job?
  • Define cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs).
  • Define carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Explain how CTDs cause additional costs to the company.
  • Explain how video display terminals (VDTs) contribute to worker discomfort and health issues.
  • Define multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and environmental illness (EI).
  • Why does the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) consider multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or environmental illness (EI) eligible for reasonable accommodations in the workplace?
  • List three policies or practices companies can implement to accommodate employees with MCS.
  • List three benefits to a smoke-free work environment for employees.
  • List three benefits to a smoke-free work environment for employers.
  • List three types of workers who are at an increased risk for workplace violence, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • List three tips OSHA recommends to employers to provide a safer workplace.
  • List five pre-incident indicators of workplace violence noted by the Workplace Violence Research Institute.
  • Describe and give three examples of workplace bullying.
  • Define cyberbullying.
  • List three ways HRM can combat employee identity theft.
  • Define an employee assistance program (EAP).

Americans cite two primary sources of stress: job instability and balancing work and non-work demands. A stressor is an activity, event, or other stimuli that cause a positive or negative body reaction.

Positive stress (eustress) is healthy and gives a feeling of fulfillment and other positive feelings. Eustress can cause us to push ourselves harder to meet an end goal.

Negative stress (distress) produces negative feelings and can go on for a long time without relief. Chronic stress is prolonged exposure to stress. Acute stress occurs in shorter bursts. For example, an employee may experience acute stress while responding to a tight deadline for a project.

Employees experience hyperstress, a type of extreme stress where they see little or no relief for a long time, causing burnout.

Hypostress, a lack of eustress or distress, can create feelings of restlessness. People who work in a factory or a repetitive job may experience this type of stress.

Negative consequences of stress on the job include headaches, gastrointestinal issues, lost productivity, and less creative work. From a financial perspective, stress not only decreases worker productivity and output in the long run, but it can also raise health insurance costs and increase employee turnover rates.

Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) are injuries employees suffer to their fingers, hands, arms, or shoulders from repetitive motions, such as typing. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common cumulative trauma disorder that affects the hand and wrist. CTD disorders cost companies money through higher health-care costs and worker's compensation payments. Frequent use of video display terminals (VDTs), such as computer monitors, can cause vision problems, fatigue, eye strain, and neck, back, arm, and muscle pain.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual's major life activities.

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or environmental illness (EI) is the inability to tolerate an environmental chemical or class of foreign chemicals. After providing evidence of this type of impairment, individuals with MCS can receive reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

Companies can limit MCS and EI by:

    1. Instituting a fragrance-free workplace policy;
    2. Limiting the use of restroom air fresheners, cleaning agents, and candles;
    3. Ensuring the office ventilation system is in good working order.

Employees benefit from working in a smoke-free work environment because:

    1. It creates a safer, healthier workplace;
    2. Employees are not exposed to smoke in the workplace;
    3. Smokers have an additional reason to quit smoking.

Employers benefit from providing a smoke-free work environment because:

    1. It helps create a safer, healthier, and more productive workplace;
    2. A healthier environment may reduce direct healthcare costs to the company;
    3. Employees may be less likely to miss work due to smoking-related illnesses.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers the following three types of employees at increased risk for workplace violence:

  1. Employees who exchange money with the public;
  2. Employees who deliver goods, passengers, or services;
  3. Employees who work alone or in small groups.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides tips for a safer workplace, including (but not limited to):

  1. Establish a workplace violence prevention policy, with a zero-tolerance policy;
  2. Provide safety education;
  3. Secure the workplace with cameras, extra lighting, and alarm systems.

Five pre-incident indicators of workplace violence include:

  1. Increased use of alcohol or illegal drugs;
  2. Unexplained increase in absenteeism;
  3. Noticeable decrease in attention to appearance and hygiene;
  4. Depression or withdrawal;
  5. Explosive outbursts of anger or rage without provocation.

Workplace bullying is defined as individuals or groups' tendency to use persistent or repeated aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a coworker or subordinate. Cyberbullying refers to using the Internet or technology to send text or images that are intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Examples include using Facebook to post negative comments or setting up a fake email account to pretend the victim sends false and damaging emails to others.

HRM can combat employee identify theft by:

  1. Conducting background and criminal checks on employees who will have access to sensitive data;
  2. Restricting access to areas where data is stored, including computers;
  3. Providing training to staff who will have access to private employee information.

Employers provide EAP benefits to help employees respond to personal problems that can affect their performance at work. These programs can provide training, counseling, and referral services for substance abuse, depression, and other personal issues.

Review Health Hazards at WorkWorkplace Drug Testing, and Employee Drug Treatment Program Saves Lives and Makes Money.


7b. Identify key laws and legislation with regard to safety and health that shape how human capital decisions should be made

  • What is the purpose of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?
  • What is the purpose of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)?

In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to create and enforce standards and promote training, outreach, education, and assistance to ensure working men and women work in safe and healthy working conditions. The U.S. Department of Labor administers the agency the act created: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), requiring local and state governments to create emergency response plans to respond to chemical emergencies. Individuals have a right to know about the chemicals they "may be exposed to in their daily living". While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administers these "right-to-know laws", compliance in the workplace falls under OSHA. For example, businesses must disclose hazardous substances used inside and outside buildings to the appropriate state agency responsible for state Environmental Protection Agency regulatory actions (not including federal land).

Review Workplace Safety and Health Laws.


7c. Describe the purpose of wellness programs within today's organizations

  • What is the purpose of employee wellness programs?

Wellness programs offer information on creating a balanced lifestyle, managing stress, embracing an exercise program, stopping smoking, and myriad other topics to motivate people to live healthier lifestyles. HRM can communicate the availability of these types of programs to employees during benefit meetings and through posters, newsletters, and online pop-up reminders.

Employers should be concerned with their employees' health since healthy employees boost workplace performance and productivity, use fewer sick day benefits, and are more likely to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships with their employers. In addition to employee assistance programs, many companies offer in-house, external, online programs and training to maintain or improve employee health before problems arise.

Review Health Hazards at Work and Stress Management.


Unit 7 Vocabulary

  • Acute stress
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic stress
  • Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Distress
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)
  • Employee Assistance Plan (EAP)
  • Employee privacy
  • Environmental illness (EI)
  • Employee identity theft
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Eustress
  • Hazardous substances
  • Hyperstress
  • Hypostress
  • Material data safety sheet
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)
  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Stress
  • Stressor
  • Wellness Program
  • Workplace bullying