Health Links [HL]: Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
Garfield County [GC]: Looking out for one's employees is the right thing to do! Having healthier employees means that they are more engaged at work and hopefully at home as well. Not only is there substantial evidence indicating that employees who are safer and healthier are also harder working and more productive, but employees who are safer and healthier at work have more fun at work and at home. They contribute more to the community and have more energy to engage in their families, their homes, their outside activities and their hobbies. By investing in our employees safety and health at work, we are making an investment in the community. The return on that small effort is giant!
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
GC: At this point, our workplace wellness program is run separately from our workplace safety program. The health program is run as a "Wellness Program" and has three components: 1) educational sessions, 2) incentives (drawings for participation) and 3) stipends for taking action toward a healthier lifestyle. The safety program is run through a different department and offers lunch and learns, a safety committee, posters and emails and this year, they had a campaign for winter safety.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
GC: First Year Goals:
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
GC: Political and logistical barriers were the biggest obstacles. There was also a change of staff that hindered progress a bit. An extra few months were just added to the timeline and lots of conversations with different departments helped overcome the logistical barriers.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
GC: Not yet, but volunteering would be something we could consider for the future to reward in the Wellness Stipend portion of the program.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
GC: Get out there and talk to your employees. Get to know them, get to know what they want, get to know what would motivate them and then create a program that works to meet them where they are. Think outside the box when you can, but don't be afraid to do something that's been done before either - there are things that work and things that don't work and it's ok to try twice.