Blue-collar workers usually belong to the working class and perform tasks like construction, mining, manual labor, manufacturing, etc.
Their profession requires a greater degree of physical work, including mechanics, electricians, farmers, laborers, etc.
The word blue collar originated from the image of staff carrying blue denim or shirts with chambray collars as a part of their uniforms. Those workers got tagged as blue-collar workers in the 1920s when they started wearing dark-collared shirts to hide dirt.
Mostly, their work entails working in a hazardous setting, due to which they are most likely to get injured or have major health issues. Moreover, these workers are unaware of their health conditions due to a lack of resources and low wages.
Per analysis, blue-collared workers are more likely to work past 65 as compared to white-collared workers. This results in major health issues due to their old age. They are at a higher risk of suffering from conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, reducing their quality of life and work productivity. Their physical, as well as mental health is affected due to immense workload and pressure.
They are exposed to different environments and dangers. Hence, problems like obesity, fatigue, depression, hypertension, immoderate use of tobacco and cigarettes, and peritoneal mesothelioma are pervasive among these workers.
Peritoneal mesothelioma (also known as abdominal mesothelioma) is a form of cancer caused by asbestos. Workers working in high-risk asbestos jobs face an elevated risk of exposure to the substance, resulting in diseases like mesothelioma.
Have you ever wondered how these people acknowledge their health issues? Who can they consult when they have any questions regarding their wellness? How do they cope with their health issues?
In this article, we will discuss how you can create awareness among blue-collar workers to promote wellness. There are many effective ways through which employers can guide these workers and improve their health conditions.
1. Free monthly checkups at working places/sites:
Workers can be encouraged to stay healthy by initiating regular checkups. Workplaces can offer a compulsory monthly checkup that would be free of cost. This can create awareness regarding their health conditions and increase motivation to start proper medical treatment. They can be facilitated with first aid boxes, painkillers, and other important facilities that can be utilized during an emergency while working. This can also create awareness regarding medicine usage and medical utilities among the workers.
2. Health benefits programs at the workplace:
According to a recent KFF survey, a huge number of firms with healthcare policies offered workers benefits like biometric screening, health risk assessment, etc. Hence, corporations can provide personalized preventative plans that are much more effective than generalized information.
By doing so, workers can also be informed about their health conditions and motivated to start professional medical treatment.
3. Access to helplines and Advice lines:
Workers can benefit from 24/7 available helplines willing to help and guide them about their physical and mental health. Many organizations have the resources that can help underprivileged workers by answering their health concerns. Health professionals can provide them with medical support and offer twellness programs that can benefit them. Such platforms provide a safe and secure place to talk about things people might feel uncomfortable sharing with families or friends.
4. Offer Health insurance:
Health insurance can be provided to the workers to support them financially. Many blue-collar workers belong to a background that is not financially secure. They avoid medical treatments due to the lack of financial support. Health insurance is an easy way to access a network of doctors and hospitals. They also provide other resources to help you stay healthy. Furthermore, workers will have peace of mind knowing that their health is insured and any medical costs are covered.
5. Offer Paid Fitness Memberships:
Rewards, facilities, and incentives — like gymnasium, yoga, or spa memberships — are great techniques to increase motivation as well as health and wellness in the workplace. Facilities such as an on-site gym allow workers to exercise more frequently together, which can help create a better working environment. Offering seminars or workshops that help educate workers on the benefits of exercise and diet before or after work motivates them to be at work and enjoy it more.
6. Offer breaks and a healthy diet:
Workplaces should understand that workers need to take short breaks throughout their working hours. Working non-stop is not healthy for anyone. It can result in fatigue, stress, and other health issues. Work stress can unleash the hormone cortisol, which may damage cardiac function, increasing the risk of stroke, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
Since many blue-collar workers might be above 50 or 60, the risk of developing these diseases is high. Hence, workers need to relax and take breaks. Similarly, a healthy diet is also very important for workers since it can boost their immunity and help them live longer and healthier. Many workplaces provide food to their workers, but only some focus on providing healthy and hygienic food.
7. Motivation to quit smoking:
We all know the consequences of smoking. It may cause stroke, lung diseases, heart problems, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking also increases the risk of certain eye diseases, tuberculosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. But there are still some underprivileged people that are not aware of its downside. A no-smoking policy in the workplace can help workers quit smoking. Companies can also organize programs that can educate everyone about the drawbacks of smoking which might help the workers in quitting this dangerous habit.
Blue-collar workers are often exposed to hazardous environments that lead to serious health issues. These problems can be avoided if employers create awareness regarding the importance of a healthy lifestyle among their workers.
Since many workers do not have access to medical resources, a privileged and knowledgeable employer must help them in a way that can benefit their health. There are many ways to motivate workers to live healthily, some of which are highlighted above.
If you find workers with any health concerns, it is your responsibility to provide medical attention while promoting ways through which they can seek help.