For the Employer
Midwest Metal Products, a small manufacturing company in Cedar Rapids, IA, of approximately 120 employees, has incorporated workplace physical activity as a long-term strategy and made movement part of their culture. Daily walks are taken around the parking lot at 1:30pm. In the winter, they have marked a walking path inside the building. The 5-minute walking break helps employees relieve tension and become more alert for the rest of their shift. They also have a policy accommodating people to sit or stand and encourage employees to move around to stretch their muscles and relieve tension. An ergonomic and stretching program has also been introduced and all employees are encouraged to stretch twice during their shift, once at the beginning and once at another point during the day. In addition, they have an on-site fitness center, fitness equipment and offer a Saturday kickboxing class that employees can sign up for on a weekly basis. Midwest Metal Products truly demonstrates strong and consistent organizational support for movement and provides multiple choices and opportunities. Their practices exemplify research supporting successful workplace physical activity interventions, particularly by providing opportunities during paid time and facilitating employee participation. Midwest Metal Products was a 2010 recipient of the Linn & Johnson County Worksite Wellness Award.
Duncan Aviation, a family-run aircraft service company from Lincoln, NE, started an Off-the-Job Safety Program to show they care for their employees and their family’s well-being both at work and away from work. They understood their workers get hurt at home and then bring those injuries into the workplace. Quarterly child safety seat inspections are offered along with discounted bicycles helmets and fire safety equipment. They also offer a variety of classes on driving safety as part of safety and wellness sessions. Topics have included motorcycle safety, driving in winter conditions, and basic car maintenance courses that show employees how to change their tires, how to check vehicle fluids, and how to check air pressure in their tires. They have also held drinking and driving sessions, encouraging teenagers to attend and emphasizing calling a ride if they have been drinking. Their Off-the-Job Safety Program has been most successful because they focus on the things their employees and their families are interested in. They then bring the necessary resources to them so they don’t have to go looking for them. Read more on Duncan Aviation and other model Off-the-Job Safety Programs from the National Safety Council here.
Johnson Machines Works, a current Gold Well Workplace by the Wellness Council of Iowa and Wellness Council of America, exemplifies a Total Worker Health™ approach to the workplace environment. The steel fabrication business of approximately 100 employees in Chariton, Iowa, makes safety part of everyone’s number one goal each day, to not only work productively, but also work safely so they can go home to their families each night. Their extended family-style approach also provides wellness opportunities to help employees both at work and at home. Programs include numerous types of job training and both internal and external classes to help employee’s with their physical, spiritual and financial needs. A large part of their success can be attributed to their “Values of Steel,” which decisions are based on, and stand for Safety, Trust, Excellence, Empowerment and Learning. Learn more about Johnson Machine Works’ integrated work environment and values here.
JM Swank, a subsidiary of ConAgra foods and small business located in North Liberty, IA, takes an integrated point’s system approach to their incentives-based participatory wellness program. All employees and their spouses are eligible to choose from a menu of activity options. Points are calculated annually and totals fit in a pre-determined range identified as bronze, silver or gold levels. Each level offers a reward of a Visa Gift Card, with Gold being the highest cash-equivalent amount available. Points are available in preset categories such as “JM Swank Offerings,” “General Health” and “Fitness/Health.” Example “JM Swank Offerings” include completing a health risk assessment, attending specific lunch-n-learns, participating in their 4-week pedometer, H2O or fruit and veggie programs or attending bi-weekly weigh-ins. “General Health” activities include multiple options of preventive screenings, dental exams/cleanings and volunteering/community service. In the Fitness/Health category, activities include taking a fitness class, participating in a walk/run event or purchasing $100+ fitness equipment. By offering a variety of activity options to employees and their spouses, JM Swank’s program has become part of their culture, both at work and at home, resulting in a high rate of participation. This integration of at-work activities and outside-of-work activities with the inclusion of spouses exemplifies an integrated approach and Total Worker Health™ strategy to employee health. By adding a ‘Safety’ category; this program would further exemplify a Total Worker Health™ approach.
Cedar Rapids Waste Management, a 2012 Linn and Johnson County Worksite Wellness Award Winner, got started in worksite wellness in 2007, after recognizing their employees had high injury and accident rates. John Foster, Compliance Manager, stated “We got into wellness because it was a safety issue.” The company had an older and overweight workforce and was having repetitive and serious back and shoulder injuries at a rate of 3-5 times a year for just 40 employees. By finding a wellness champion within the company, they started a stretching program. They also started a weight management program and worked with a Hy-Vee Dietician to arrange an on-site walk through of the store to learn how to make healthy food choices. When they took on smoking cessation, they addressed spousal smoking along with it. They are proud to report they have had only one major incident in the last 3 years and their employees are safer, healthier and happier. Future plans include putting in walking trails between all the buildings, a bridge and encouraging employees to take breaks by the nearby pond. Cedar Rapids Waste Management exemplifies Total Worker Health™ and how integrating safety, health and wellness benefit both the employees and the company.
Ottawa Kent, a small Michigan insurance company of 50 employees, takes an integrated and “no silos” approach when it comes to making their customers and employees healthier and safer. They attribute their success to practicing wellness both inside and outside their agency through HealthTrack, a division of Ottwawa Kent with the objective to help employees manage their health risk through education and one-on-one motivational health coaching at work. With their employees, they have had a 100% participation rate with their Health Risk Assessments for 5 years and have averaged an impressive 94.2% participation rate in their wellness and coaching programs with no added financial incentives. Randy Boss, a Certified Risk Architect since 1982 demonstrates their commitment by saying, “We value our employees more than anything else in our business. Keeping them healthy and safe at home and at work is not only good business, but the right thing to do.” Outside the agency, customer Zeeland Lumber & Supply has seen dramatic improvements in their medical-only claims, employee morale and other financial benefits after just one year. Zeeland President, Mike Dystra, concluded that the program has taken them from looking at risk management as a once a year approach to a 365-days-a-year approach. Together with Ottawa Kent, employee health and safety has become engrained in Zeeland’s culture. Read more about Ottawa Kent’s holistic and “no silos” approach to health and safety on pages 18-24 of Rough Notes Magazine from July 2012.
Lincoln Industries of Lincoln Nebraska is a medium sized company of just over 500 employees that has truly developed a culture of health and safety. In fact, they have repeatedly been recognized as one of the top 25 places to work in the United States and their success can be attributed to the true integration of safety, health and wellness into their organizational culture. Their culture is based on six key elements, two of which are safety and focusing on wellness. Since starting their wellness program, go! Platinum, they have seen clear health benefits of their employees. They have also seen lower turnover, lower absenteeism, higher quality and lower healthcare costs. Learn more about Lincoln Industries’ Culture or check out their 2012 Wellness Brochure for ideas on how to better integrate health and wellness into the culture of your organization.
NASA Provides Model Leadership
Senior leadership at NASA believes a healthy and productive workforce is integral to their success. Their strong leadership and support is demonstrated by directly communicating the importance of worker well-being through policies, programs and practices designed to optimize health and productivity. Leaders also ensure that necessary components are integrated and coordinated including human resource activities, personnel benefit designs, occupational health and safety policies, environmental health, wellness programs and practices and disability management. Check out NASA’s occupational health website to see what they are doing for their employees in terms of occupational health programs and health and wellness programs.