ActiveSWV Workplace Wellness Pilot Programs Update

Active Southern West Virginia knows the importance of improving the health of our current and future workforce. Improved health means an improved quality of life, productive workforce, and prosperous economy. The people of southern West Virginia deserve the opportunities to access safe physical activity, knowledge and access to fresh food, and supportive policies within their workplaces and communities.

The benefits of implementing a workplace wellness program are worth the investment in assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating. Here are some statistics from Audrey Tillman EVP Corporate Sales, Aflac;

The indirect costs of poor health, such as an absence from work and reduced work productivity, can result in two or three times the amount of direct medical costs.

One-fourth of health care costs incurred by working adults are attributed to changeable health risks, such as tobacco use, diet, and lack of exercise.

A comprehensive analysis of 42 published studies of worksite health promotion programs showed that companies that implemented an effective wellness program realized significant cost reductions and financial gains, including:

                An average of 28% reduction in sick days

                An average of 26% reduction in health costs

                An average of 30% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability                                          management claims

                An average $5.93 to $1 savings-to-cost ratio.

Nearly seven out of 10 employees (69 percent) would participate in wellness programs if provided by their companies.

In order for companies to be effective in the implementation of a successful wellness environment, all company leaders should be relentless in their efforts.

The ActiveSWV Workplace Wellness program is open to any size business in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, and Summers counties. Contact our office to sign up; [email protected] or (304) 254-8488. Each business designates a point person who recruits a wellness team. This group is allowed time to meet and discuss priority areas by working through the CDC Workplace Health Scorecard. This scorecard is an evaluation tool with evidence based action items ranging across 8 topics. Read more here about starting an ActiveSWV Workplace Wellness Program.

Pilot programs have been underway in Raleigh County with Vaught Inc., New River Health School Based Health, Access Health, and the City of Beckley. Each pilot program is unique to the environment, systems, and priorities of that organization, but every work site used the same score card to implement the changes needed to improve health and productivity.

Here is an example of the progress Vaught Inc. has been able to implement:

October: We created our wellness committee, notified our employees of our efforts and created a budget for the year. We provided onsite influenza vaccinations to staff members along with educating them about how to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the flu.

Angie leads the wellness team at Vaught Inc.

November: Since November was Diabetes Awareness Month we sent a newsletter to our employees with a link to an online Diabetes Risk Test, articles about the disease and tips for being active and healthy with diabetes.

December: A newsletter was prepared for National Hand washing Awareness Week. We focused on the Do’s and Don’ts of hand washing, bacteria and viruses at work and hand washing verses hand sanitizer. A demonstration was given on how bacteria is spread by using a special powder and a back light.

January: Brianna Harvey, a Corporate Health Consultant with the Raleigh General Hospital WorkPoint Wellness program, held a health event at our office. She provided services such as blood pressure checks and BMI measurements. Brianna also discussed our current health benefits with our staff and provided literature on various health related topics.

February: For Heart Disease Awareness, we started off the month with a heart healthy luncheon.  This was done on February 3rd, Nation Wear Red Day. In honor of Heart Disease Awareness Month employees were asked to wear red to work. A bulletin board was posted in our break room and employees attached awareness ribbons on the board with the names of someone they know who has heart disease.

Employees brought vegetables to work and we assembled a salad bar for lunch. Goody bags were given out with a heart healthy snack and a pamphlet from the American Heart Association about Life’s Simple 7; 7 small changes that will add up to a big difference in our heart health. We also had a CPR class scheduled during working hours on February 24th  so that all our employees can attend. We now have an AED and will also be  trained on how to use it.

Tackling a subject per month is a great strategy to the first year of introducing employees to healthy workday habits.

The ActiveSWV Workplace Wellness Program is receiving technical assistance training from the WV Bureau of Public Health and the CDC Workplace Health Technical Assistance Program. These efforts are supported by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce. 

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