DE Focus For National Public Health Week, Create A Healthier Workplace

                               

Dover, DE (WorkersCompensation.com) - Since many adults work outside the home, having a healthy workplace can support personal health goals, and boost attendance and productivity while decreasing costs associated with ill health. During National Public Health Week (April 1-8, 2013), consider these suggestions to improve your worksite's health:

  • Provide health promotion or wellness programs and chronic disease management programs for employees as part of their health benefits.
  • Two-thirds of all Delawareans are overweight or obese. Promote healthy food and beverage choices in worksite vending machines. Stock vending machines with water, juice and diet sodas; and baked, low-salt and high fiber snacks.
  • Determine if a weight management program can provide lunchtime classes. Or, advertise brown-bag lunch classes to inspire employees how to reduce stress, become more physically active, and prepare heart-healthy meals.
  • Promoting healthy walks is an easy way to encourage physical fitness and weight control. Organize lunchtime walks or encourage walkers to find a walking buddy.
  • Limit exposure to secondhand smoke outside. Don't allow smoking near entrances, exits or walkways. Consider making your grounds smoke-free.
  • Offer incentives to employees to adopt documentable healthy behaviors (such as miles walked or weight-loss classes attended), obtaining recommended screenings or completing a medically supervised smoking cessation treatment program)
  • Create workplace wellness by conducting a flu vaccination campaign or a Blood Bank or designated organ donor sign-up drive. Post hand-washing reminders. The Delaware Division of Public Health posts flu resources on its website: www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph.
  • Is your worksite fire-safe? Walkways should be clear and evacuation maps posted. Smoke detectors should be inspected annually and smoke alarms and fire extinguishers should be in working order. Regular fire and safety drills should be conducted and one outside safe meeting zone should be publicized.
  • Address the potential for workplace violence, and put into place mechanisms that instruct employees accordingly. Safety presentations and materials should be available in multiple languages.
  • Provide personal protective equipment for employees. Train employees about workplace safety regulations, and share Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards with the workforce. Visit www.osha.gov.
  • Is there something harmful in your workplace? According the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, toxin exposures at work cause an estimated 40,000 new cases of cancer and 20,000 cancer deaths each year. In addition, exposure to toxic and irritant chemicals at work can cause a variety of illnesses, including respiratory tract symptoms (asthma, reactive airway disease, pulmonary fibrosis), kidney failure, liver damage, cardiovascular effects, nervous system symptoms, gastrointestinal illness, and metabolic effects. Delaware Division of Public Health's Occupational Health Program can recommend procedures necessary to reduce your risk and even provide free training resources for your company to help ensure that everyone uses equipment properly and practices safe procedures. Visit www.DelawareHealthyWorkplaces.org.
  • Actively partner with community and other local entities/stakeholders to develop and implement community health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
  • Examine the cost and benefits of worksite health promotion and disease prevention efforts.

For more ideas on how to improve health and safety at work, visit www.nphw.org.

 

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