Health-Awareness Months

June Health: National Safety Month

In observance of National Safety Month in June, Elevate Black Health seeks to acknowledge the diverse safety concerns impacting our community’s well-being. However, to narrow down the topic of this article, the primary focus is on the critical importance of Workplace Safety and its profound implications for public health within the Black community. Promoting workplace safety within the Black community is not just a matter of corporate responsibility; it’s a vital component of public health equity. By acknowledging historical injustices, addressing health disparities, and advocating for inclusive policies, employers can create environments where Black workers feel valued and protected.

Ensuring workplace safety not only safeguards individual well-being but also contributes to broader public health goals, fostering economic empowerment, community resilience, and social justice. Workplace safety represents a crucial step toward building a healthier, more equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Many times Black employees may not advocate for their own workplace safety for fear of:

  1. Retaliation
  2. Historical or perceived mistrust
  3. Lack of representation
  4. Economic vulnerability
  5. Stigma

Employers should not assume all employees will speak up regarding unsafe environment in the workplace. To help mitigate, we suggest that employers should also actively enforce Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for public safety by implementing policies and practices that prioritize both safety and nondiscrimination. EEO contributes to the overall well-being of communities; helps to reduce disparities in access to employment and opportunities for career advancement, which can have significant implications for health outcomes. When we have stable employment and fair working conditions, we are more likely to experience better physical and mental health, leading to healthier communities overall. Additionally, EEO practices tend to foster a sense of belonging and safety in the workplace, which further supports our personal well-being and productivity. Overall, EEO plays a vital role in promoting public health by fostering environments that support equal opportunities and fair treatment for not just the Black community, but all individuals.

Here are some specific topics for workplace safety tailored to the Black community that can easily be implemented at your place of employment:

  1. Racial Discrimination and Harassment: Actively address issues of racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace, including microaggressions, biases, and systemic racism that can impact the safety and well-being of Black employees.
  2. Representation and Diversity in Leadership: Promote diversity and inclusion initiatives that ensure Black employees have representation in leadership roles, which can lead to a more inclusive and safer work environment.
  3. Mental Health Support: Provide resources and support for mental health issues, including addressing the impact of racial trauma, discrimination, and the unique stressors faced by Black employees in predominantly white workplaces.
  4. Cultural Sensitivity Training: Implement training programs that increase cultural sensitivity and awareness among all employees to foster a more respectful and supportive work environment for Black colleagues.
  5. Fair Treatment and Equity: Ensure fair treatment and equitable opportunities for career advancement, training, and development for Black employees to mitigate feelings of marginalization and promote a sense of safety and belonging in the workplace.
  6. Health and Wellness Programs: Offer health and wellness initiatives that specifically address the needs and concerns of Black employees, such as access to healthcare resources, nutrition education, and fitness programs.
  7. Safety in High-Risk Industries: Recognize the overrepresentation of Black workers in high-risk industries such as construction, transportation, and manufacturing; and implement targeted safety measures to protect against workplace hazards and injuries.
  8. Community Engagement and Outreach: Collaborate with community organizations and leaders to address workplace safety concerns specific to the Black community and offer partnerships aimed at improving safety standards and practices.
  9. Empowerment and Advocacy: Empower Black employees to advocate for their rights and safety in the workplace through avenues such as employee resource groups, mentorship programs, and leadership development opportunities.
  10. Intersectionality and Inclusive Policies: Recognize the intersectionality of identities within the Black community and developing inclusive policies and practices that consider factors such as gender, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status to ensure holistic support for all Black employees.

By addressing these topics and implementing targeted strategies, your workplace can create safer and more inclusive environments for Black employees, ultimately promoting well-being, productivity, and overall success.

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About the author

Stephen Earley Jordan II

Stephen Earley Jordan is the lead writer, editor and founder of Elevate Black Health. He has 25+ years in the public health and pharmaceutical marketing industry. He has worked on various public health campaigns for various organizations, including New York City Department of Health. Campaigns include: smoking cessation, healthy children, trans fat, HIV/AIDS, Flu Vaccines, Safe homes, and more. Jordan has worked with multicultural divisions to ensure all literature was translated into six additional languages for the specific targeted demographics. Jordan has also spent time in the pharmaceutical marketing industry, and worked on various marketing campaigns for oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, probiotics, medical devices, facial fillers, thyroid- and dry-eye diseases, and numerous rare diseases. He has assisted in the production of print and digital pieces alike.

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