Global Textiles | Textile Articles

Employee health can be prioritised to benefit the textile industry.

Published: November 28, 2022

Every year, textile workers around the globe work tirelessly to spin, weave, dye, and print the fabrics and garments that make our lives easier and help people look and feel their best. They do great work, but sometimes, the conditions in factories can be dangerous, and it is up to management to ensure the safety of these amazing employees. In addition to being the moral thing to do, by prioritizing health, warehouse managers can also improve productivity and increase the company’s bottom line.

Here are some of the concerns in the textile industry, how management can create a safer environment, and how doing so will benefit your employees and optimize the textile industry.

The Impact of Employee Health

The first step to prioritizing employee health is to understand the impact that negligence can have on your workforce. When your employees aren’t provided with a safe workplace, it is easier for them to succumb to injuries that could require them to take a leave of absence or quit the industry altogether. Every year, industries of all types face over $500 billion in health costs due to workers’ absences, impaired performances, and paying out workers’ compensation. 

There is also an impact around the world as hundreds of workers in the garment and textile industry have either been hurt at work or died as a result of their injuries. 

Employers need to realize that there are multiple factors that can lead to physical and mental distress that could affect an employee’s productivity. When employees feel safe, they are more likely to stay with the company for longer, and when they value the positive changes they see from management, they are also more likely to refer other high-value candidates.

Mental Health Issues

While there are many factors that can lead to physical harm when working in a factory, there is also a mental impact. Employees may deal with constant noise, they may be asked to work long hours without breaks, and they may be pushed to their limits by managers who are trying to meet deadlines. All of these behaviors will have a negative effect on an employee’s mental health and, eventually lead to burnout, which will affect their performance.

Managers may believe that they are accomplishing their objectives by pushing employees to the limit, but really, they are causing the staff to be less productive than it may initially appear. An employee who is pushed to the point of burnout and depression is going to make more errors. In fact, depression reduces the cognitive functions of employees 35% of the time, so even though your workers are there and going through the motions, the lack of a supportive work environment is actually doing your company harm.

It is essential that management ensures their teams are provided with proper shifts where they can work their eight hours and then return home so they can spend time with their families and have a successful work-life balance. Overtime may be required occasionally, but it should not be a constantly recurring event. Also, since textile work requires a lot of sitting and standing in one place, employees should be provided with ample breaks, so they can leave, take a walk, clear their heads, and return to work feeling refreshed and ready to impress.

Protect Your Staff From Physical Harm

There are many dangers that are present in textile work that you will not see in many other industries. Exposure to harmful chemicals like benzidine, formaldehyde, and cotton dust can lead to injury and disease. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set guidelines for chemicals, along with the Cotton Dust Standard, that can help employees to avoid illness. However, management needs to be up-to-date on these guidelines so they can do what is best for their staff.

Your employees should also be provided with adequate health care that allows them to see a doctor if they are feeling ill. As your employees get older, they will likely have more reasons to go to regular checkups. For instance, workers over the age of 40 are more likely to develop eye problems like cataracts which require surgery to fix. If your employees are subjected to any harm at work, then they should be allowed the chance to get necessary medical attention and plenty of time to recover afterward. If they are forced to return too soon, then their productivity could suffer. 

Working in a warehouse atmosphere also requires proper ergonomics. By standing, sitting, and lifting properly, your employees can prevent injury and also get more done during the workday. You can implement many of these lessons during the initial training period, where management can also discuss safety concerns during emergency situations, discuss how to report a safety issue around the warehouse, and inform the new employee that they always have an open-door policy if a worker has any concerns at work.

While your one business can’t singlehandedly optimize the textile industry, if every warehouse implemented these safety precautions and prioritized mental and physical health, then it would make a world of difference. Make these changes at your warehouse, and your employees will show their gratitude through their work.

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