4 ways to keep your employees safe and healthy
For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the staff is the lifeblood of the organization.
Numbering less than a hundred employees, the business’ small size means that the
responsibilities of its employees often overlap to the point that every staff member has a hands-
on role in the running of the company.
The loss of a staff member therefore, due to illness or resignation, whether permanently or temporarily, has a negative impact on the organization, with the potential to slow-down or paralyze the SME’s operations.
It is in the best interest of most SMEs, therefore, to retain its staff for as long as possible,
something SMEs have been successful in in recent years due to its allowance for flexibility in
working hours and the workplace, innovative mindset, and the absence of a rigid workplace
hierarchy. Other job opportunities aside however, accidents and unforeseen health issues
happen, that leaves the workplace short of staff.
Here are four ways small and medium-sized businesses can prevent or minimize at the staff
level the impact of these unforeseen issues, so that the SME can perform at its best:
1. Hold disaster risk management seminars
Many of us don’t need reminding of the fact that the Philippines is a disaster-prone country. It is for this reason that most government offices and schools have been religious in training
employees and students in disaster risk management – holding bi-annual earthquake and fire
evacuation drills, presenting maps of the fault lines, providing safety go-bags that contain
flashlights and whistles, which owners are supposed to complement with a bottle of clean
water, canned goods, and a change of clothes. Given the country’s especial vulnerability to
disasters and the relevance of disaster risk training for both the office and at home, this is an
essential step in ensuring staff safety.
2. Organize regular first aid trainings for the staff
First aid is one of those, “you never know when you’ll need it,” things but is no less important
for that. Given the heat of the Filipino summer, even the youngest, and healthiest are prone to
heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Earthquake and fire drills are prime venues for cuts, scrapes,
or other related accidents. Elsewhere, work stress can lead either to serious medical conditions
or their setting aside and aggravation.
Unfortunately, the small size of the workplace means that SMEs don’t have clinics at their
disposal to deal with these problems. In lieu of this, it is practical therefore for SMEs to train
their employees in the basics of first aid: how to treat wounds efficiently and hygienically,
performing the Heimlich maneuver in aid of choking victims, the classic CPR. Taking the
Philippine context into account, it would also be useful to add to these techniques that help
those suffering from heat-related illnesses, and techniques such as the tourniquet that allow for
the early detection of dengue in an individual.
3. Take advantage of fitness centers and gyms’ corporate rates
One mostly fail-proof way of keeping the staff healthy is by keeping the staff fit, which, given the
popularity of fitness in recent years has actually evolved into a passion, even obsession for many, as evidenced by the mushrooming of a Gold’s Gym, Anytime Fitness, Fitness First
Premium, and Elorde Boxing Gym on virtually every street corner in Metro Manila and in all big
and medium-sized cities beyond. At this point, it appears as though everyone has a gym
membership or personally knows several people enjoying a gym membership.
The good news is a gym membership need not cost an arm and a leg, and the competitive
corporate rates offered by gyms in the Philippines mean that even SMEs can offer fitness plans
as part of employee benefits.
4. Ensure the staff’s healthcare coverage
Inevitably, the most obvious way of ensuring the staff’s health and safety is by providing them
with the means to ensure their health and safety. In most big companies and government offices
therefore, comprehensive healthcare is already a staple in the benefits of regular employees. In
SMEs, doted with a much smaller budget, this is potentially problematic.
Fortunately, many Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) have been adapting to the
country’s evolving business and employment landscape by providing healthcare tailor-fitted to
the client’s needs, allowing SMEs a choice between comprehensive healthcare and healthcare
targeting specific concerns such as emergency care. Fitting a variety of budgets, this allows
small and medium-sized business to provide their employees with the assurance of health.
Here at Maria Health, we celebrate the vitality of all employees to any business and we believe
that they deserve nothing but the best. This is why we’ve partnered with the country’s top
healthcare providers, so that you can give your staff the best and allow them to put their mind at