Give workers the green light on environment

Be the one to initiate programs

Even though workers had diligently placed plastic bottles in a recycling bin in a company break room, staff were seen bagging these up, then throwing them in the regular trash can.

"Someone set up the receptacles, but there was no system in place to dispose of anything," says Karen Mastroianni, RN, MPH, COHN-S, FAAOHN, co-owner and health and safety strategist for Raleigh, NC-based Dimensions in Occupational Health & Safety. "All it takes is one picture on a Facebook page and it is viral in days. Companies can't afford for that to happen!"

It may be that no one has taken the trouble to find a vendor to pick up recyclables. "It's amazing, the number of companies that do not have recycling in place, for a variety of reasons," she says.

Both the younger generation and the older baby boomer generation want to feel that they work for a company that cares about the environment. You can communicate the need to management and initiate these programs.

"My experience has been that sending out an e-mail to meet with interested employees is sometimes all it takes," she says. "Employees want to do this. Many have a real passion to lessen their footprint."

Occupational health should be involved in corporate social responsibility activities, and this includes 'in-house' activities. "Recycling paper and cans is only one component," she says. "Employees are excited to get involved and have a role to play. All they need is the opportunity."


For more information on getting employees involved in corporate social responsibility activities, contact:

• Karen Mastroianni, RN, MPH, COHN - S, FAAOHN, Co-Owner and Health & Safety Strategist, Dimensions in Occupational Health & Safety, Raleigh, NC. Phone: (919) 676-2877 ext. 12. E-mail: