Original article from http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com
by Chris Kilbourne
Every June, the National Safety Council (NSC) celebrates National Safety Month (NSM) “to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.”
NSM’s overall theme this year is “Safety Starts with Me,” which is the principle that everyone in the workplace is responsible for safety, not just management or safety professionals. So it’s important to train your employees on how to stay safe.
To that end, today’s Advisor gives you information you can use next week to train workers on wellness in conjunction with NSM’s Week Two theme: Employee Wellness.
So many reasons
Getting and staying active has reached “motherhood and apple pie” status. It’s hard to find a downside to pursuing a more active, less sedentary life. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.” Getting fit can help to:
- Control weight.
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Strengthen bones and muscles.
- Improve mental health and mood.
- Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls in older adults.
- Increase your chances of living longer.
While no one believes physical activity is a magic bullet, it’s hard to deny this impressive list of benefits.
If you’ve decided to make a commitment to wellness and fitness at your organization, the Livestrong Foundation (www.livestrong.com) recommends the following steps:
Meet with your company’s leadership to talk about the possibility of implementing a workplace fitness program. Bring information about the type of programs you’d like to introduce (weight loss, fitness classes, etc.), the anticipated cost, and the expected benefits. Buy-in from management is essential to a successful program.
Meet with employees to discuss the goals and program details. Get input about challenges they face in regard to fitness, such as time constraints and cost. Create a program that addresses these issues.
Consider offering incentives for participation. Many workplaces have been successful with incentives, like a prize for the most weight loss, and events with free food and gifts. Other employers prefer incentives such as discounts on insurance premiums. The types of incentives should be reviewed as the program matures.
Support programs you offer by giving employees time off during the workday to attend a Weight Watchers® meeting or participate in a fitness event.
Be inclusive by scheduling events and opportunities that are open to everyone, not just those who have signed up for the fitness program. Examples are a health fair or walk-to-work day.
Other strategies to ensure your program’s success:
- Get top leaders to participate actively in the program. Everybody likes to see the boss in the gym.
- Encourage healthy eating at meetings, in your cafeteria, and to those responsible for filling the vending machines. Organize a healthy potluck lunch to celebrate a health or wellness milestone.
- Make sure fitness and nutrition are covered in your safety and health newsletter or e-blast.
- Recognize employees who are meeting such personal fitness goals as losing a significant amount of weight or running a marathon.
For more information on National Safety Month, visit NSC’s website.
Why It Matters
- A health and wellness focus is good business.
- Many employers report a return on investment (ROI) of $3 and more per dollar invested.
- The payback comes from increased productivity and fewer and lower-dollar insurance claims.