Why an Integrated Workplace Safety and Wellness Program Is Best

Employees are a business’s most valuable asset and keeping them safe and healthy should be a priority for any company. Many businesses have a workplace safety program and a wellness program, but the two programs operate independently of one another – but should they? There are some compelling reasons to integrate the two so that employees can benefit from a more global, holistic approach to staying safe and healthy on the job.

To adequately address health and safety issues, companies need to look not only at whether an employee is performing their job safely but whether they’re healthy and fit enough to do their job without a high risk of injury. Issues like obesity, poor physical fitness and inadequate nutrition make it harder for employees to carry out certain tasks in the workplace.

The link between health and safety

According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, people who are obese are at higher risk for occupational health issues and injuries. When obese staff are exposed to chemicals on the job, they’re at higher risk for occupational asthma and heart and lung issues compared to a non-obese person. They’re also at greater risk for ergonomic issues and bio-mechanical problems including carpal tunnel syndrome. If companies focus on workplace safety without addressing the obesity issue, the bigger problem remains. A unified approach that integrates occupational safety measures with wellness initiatives that emphasize good nutrition and weight control provides a more effective solution to the problem.

There’s also the issue of back injuries. Back injuries are one of the most common workplace safety issues, and people who are overweight and physically unfit are at higher risk for injuring their back on the job. Most back injuries occur as a result of lifting objects at work and ergonomic issues. Although it’s not possible to prevent all work-related back problems, integrating wellness with safety by emphasizing regular exercise to strengthen muscles in the lower back can reduce back injuries. Integrating workplace safety and wellness offers a more well-rounded approach to preventing back injuries.

What part does wellness play in safety? Wellness programs that focus on stress reduction, smoking cessation and alcohol and drug-related issues are also important for workplace safety. According to a study published in a Canadian publication called The Daily, smokers are at greater risk for being injured at work compared to non-smokers. Among women, the risk was nearly double. Stress does more than just affect employees psychologically – it increases their risk of being injured on the job. Employees who are under stress at home or at work are distracted and less able to focus on doing their job safely. Integrating stress management into a workplace safety program can help reduce the number of injuries and motivate employees to be more productive. Nutrition is another factor that a workplace safety and wellness program should address. Employees who start their day with only a cup of coffee are more prone to blood sugar drops that can lead to workplace injuries. Good nutrition is an integral part of any safety program.

There’s another benefit of merging wellness and workplace safety. Employees are less likely to participate in programs that address workplace hazards than they are wellness programs that focus on personal benefits. Integrating the two makes it more likely that employees will take part.

The bottom line

Combining workplace safety with wellness has a number of benefits for both employees and employers. Most importantly, it helps to create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace – and that’s something every company should strive for.

5 Easy Steps To Get Started Packaging Your Product

Feeling overwhelmed while trying to develop a package for your product? I’m not surprised. Packaging is the third largest industry in the country. In fact, there are more than 10,000 packaging manufactures in the US alone. The proliferation of material choices and vendors is extensive. To begin you will have to narrow the resource and material universe before you package anything. That is your first step because you can’t have a product without a package.

Which vendor is right for you? What is your packaging material of choice? Do you understand the differences between each material and what value each will bring to marketing your product? How do you sift through the mounds of information and resources to set started packaging your product?

Here are 5 easy rules to get you started.

1. Do Your Homework.

Before you decide how you want to package your product you need to see and understand what is already available in the marketplace. Even if your product is the greatest new invention out there, you will still have competition of some sort. Start by checking that out first. Visit outlets that carry similar products or products in the same category. For example, if you have a houseware product you should check out places that market housewares. Don’t just pick one outlet. Go to a variety of stores. You don’t want to develop a great new packaging concept only to find someone else is already doing the same thing. The more you look the better informed you will become. Be careful not to go into information overload by visiting every retailer outlet out there. This will only serve to confuse your decision making process.

2. Pick Your Packaging Material.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds because there are many external factors influencing why products are packaged in certain types of materials. Certain products lend themselves special merchandising. Some products can only be merchandised in certain materials. How the product is merchandised may dictate what type of package material you use. For example, if you need clarity to see the entire product then you are probably going to want plastic. The choice of material may also be dictated by availability.

Packaging materials are classified by their primary raw material. Two simple examples are paper and plastic. Within in each material type are numerous sub categories of different types of packaging. If you chose paper packaging it might be a box, a bag, a drum, a tube, a canister and so on. See the variety of choices? It’s easy to become inundated with options and hard to figure out what is the best choice. As products lend themselves to several different packaging materials, it’s best to start with what you know is working with similar products. Even if you choose the same material as a competitive product the package doesn’t necessarily need to look the same.

3. Optimize Your Package Profile.

This is what is called the retail footprint, i.e., how much space will your product take up on the shelf. Your goal is to have the smallest size or amount of packaging you can while optimizing the shape and design of the package. It’s important to understand the concept of the retail footprint. Retail space is at a premium so the smaller amount of space you use the happier the retailer will be. They may even specify that your product only be allowed so much shelf space. In any case, you need to understand the concept and incorporate that in your sales pitch to retailers.

Many times you can package your product in variety of different ways. This is where creativity comes into play. Your product doesn’t just have to sit on a shelf in a box. It could sit upright; it could hang or be displayed in a floor stand or similar merchandiser. There are many unique ways to merchandise any product. You just have to think outside of traditional ways of doing things. Look at other products from different industries. See if you can’t incorporate design ideas into your own product packaging.

4. Be Prepared To Take Advice.

I know you are in love with your product and you are sure you have ALL the answers, but you can’t be an expert at everything. Listen to what other people have to say about your product packaging. Don’t get so caught up in your own ideas that you make design mistakes or mistakes in merchandising. Get a reality check from someone who knows nothing about your product. See if your packaging concept is compelling to an outsider. By that I mean that they are interested enough to pick your product up off the shelf.

There are many resources available to you at little or no cost. Many vendors provide design expertise as part of the order. There is an unlimited amount of resource materials that can give you basic information that can save you many hours and costly mistakes. Be sure and spend time checking them out.

5. Think Big, But Be Prepared To Compromise.

I know your product is fantastic, but you may need to start out on a smaller scale than you envision. One of the largest obstacles might be finding a vendor. In general, custom packaging is relegated to large volume orders and you are probably not there yet. But don’t despair.

Look for stock items that can be customized. The stock container market has improved dramatically with innovation and new designs. In fact there are many companies now that provide only stock containers. You can customize stock on a smaller scale. With a simple label change, your package may there. Also ordering in a limited quantity allows you to change and modify your packaging as your sales increase. You don’t want to have 10,000 old packages on hand when you have a design change or need to change what’s on the package due to some regulatory issue.

The important fact is to understand that packaging is not static it evolves and changes with consumer needs and demands. It can even change because you have more business and can order in larger quantities. What worked in the past may not work tomorrow. You need to be innovative and creative in your thinking. Look for guidance and expertise in outside resources. Keep up with packaging changes and materials. Don’t get caught ordering too much stock that you can never use. Think big and start small.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make packaging your first thought–not your last.

I get hundreds of inquiries a month asking how to package products. Most of the time, they are in crisis mode because they did not think about the package until crunch time. I just got a call from an entrepreneur whose packaging was a disaster. She never thought about the role packaging plays in her product’s success until her retailer said “NO WAY” to her product packaging. She had to start over. As a result, she lost a great deal of money in the process.

To help others learn that lesson before it is too late, I have come up with a basic workshop offering education on packaging products to sell. Whether you are an entrepreneur, inventor, work from home mom, or a small business person with an idea or product it is imperative to understand the role packaging plays in a successful product launch. Packaging 101…it is simple and offers the basics of what you need to know.

Navigating Customs Clearance: Common Pitfalls for Australian Businesses

1. Inaccurate Documentation
One of the most common pitfalls in customs clearance is submitting inaccurate or incomplete documentation. Customs authorities require precise and comprehensive paperwork to verify the nature, value, and origin of the goods. Any discrepancies can result in delays and even seizure of the shipment. To avoid this, Australian businesses should ensure that all documentation, including invoices, bills of lading, and certificates of origin, is accurate and up-to-date.

2. Misclassification of Goods
Each product being imported or exported has a specific harmonized code, which determines the applicable customs duties and taxes. Misclassifying goods can lead to overpaying or underpaying duties, both of which can be costly. Australian businesses should invest the time and effort to correctly classify their products or seek professional assistance to avoid this common pitfall.

3. Ignoring Import Restrictions and Regulations
Many countries, including Australia, have import restrictions and regulations that apply to specific goods. Ignoring these restrictions can result in severe consequences, including confiscation of the goods and legal penalties. Australian businesses must research and adhere to import regulations relevant to their industry.

4. Failure to Calculate Duties and Taxes
Import duties and taxes can significantly impact the cost of international trade. Australian businesses need to calculate these expenses accurately to avoid unexpected financial burdens. A common mistake is underestimating the total cost by not considering all applicable fees, such as customs duties, Goods and Services Tax (GST), and other customs charges.

5. Inadequate Record-Keeping
Maintaining detailed records of all transactions and customs-related documents is crucial for compliance and audit purposes. Inadequate record-keeping can lead to confusion, delays, and difficulties in resolving customs issues. Australian businesses should establish a robust record-keeping system to keep track of their international trade activities.

6. Lack of Communication with Customs Brokers
Customs clearance is a complex process, and Australian businesses often rely on customs brokers for assistance. However, failing to communicate effectively with your customs broker can lead to misunderstandings and errors. Regular and clear communication with your customs broker, for example Worldwide Customs & Forwarding, is essential to ensure the smooth processing of shipments.

7. Delayed Submission of Documents
Timeliness is crucial in customs clearance. Delayed submission of required documents can result in shipment holds and storage fees. Australian businesses should establish a well-organized system to ensure all necessary documents are submitted promptly to customs authorities.

8. Disregarding Tariff Concessions and Free Trade Agreements
Australia has various trade agreements and tariff concessions in place with other countries, offering benefits such as reduced or zero customs duties. Not taking advantage of these agreements can lead to unnecessary costs. Australian businesses should stay informed about relevant trade agreements and concessions to optimize their international trade operations.

Conclusion
Customs clearance is a complex and highly regulated aspect of international trade that requires meticulous attention to detail. Australian businesses can avoid common pitfalls by investing in accurate documentation, complying with import regulations, and working closely with experienced customs brokers like Worldwide Customs & Forwarding.

By staying informed, maintaining accurate records, and communicating effectively, Australian businesses can navigate customs clearance with confidence and ensure the seamless movement of goods across borders. Avoiding these common issues will not only save time and money but also contribute to a successful international trade operation.