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Dignity is a Safe Work Practice

Creating Well-Being at Work Through Physical, Psychological, and Emotional Safety

Effective safety communication supports worker wellbeing and ultimately our sense dignity. Good communication goes beyond what and how we communicate. It also considers where we communicate, not only the physical environment, but also the psychological and emotional environment.

When we invite workers to share their personal knowledge in the workplace and participate in developing their work environment, we demonstrate dignity and respect for each worker. In this environment, workers bring their values, passions, and insights, all of which contribute to people’s experience of work and the quality of their work. Traditional approaches to safety often focus upon cognitive and technological solutions to promote physical safety and protect the body. But we are more than our minds and bodies. To promote the total wellbeing of each worker, we must engage the entire person. A well-crafted message within a well-designed physical workplace provides little help if workers are distracted by an emotionally threatening or a psychologically negative work environment.

However, specific management styles can create a positive workplace that engages, supports, and promotes the entire person; the right leadership can invite each worker to participate in creating their own work environment. Workers’ personal ownership, investment, and creativity can then build greater focus, decrease stress, and ultimately promote self-respect, wellbeing, and personal dignity.

Dignity arises when our work environment provides an opportunity to express and communicate who we are. As a result, dignity and wellbeing provide an environment where good work – including safe work — can succeed, and where workers can flourish. Through examples in media, leadership, and behavioral research, we will explore communications and work practices that engage wellbeing and dignity as integral parts of work and life.