Health Links [HL]: Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
R.A. Nelson [RAN]: As a builder, our number one priority has been and always will be safety. Our employees are our family and we treat them as such. We always try to make sure that their health and safety needs are being met.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
RAN: Our safety program is paramount. All employees must go through safety orientation and safety training throughout the year. We even hire a third party consultant to visit all our jobsites to conduct multiple safety audits. Our wellness program is customizable and mobile, which is crucial for our staff. We have many employees in Eagle, Pitkin, and Summit counties doing a wide variety of jobs each and every day, so personalization and mobility is key to allow them to participate and keep them engaged.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
RAN: Participation! Last month we implemented a step challenge and over half of our employees participated. We also encourage dependents to participate in our program. Involving the families of staff members helps then feel like they are able to participate outside of work and it also extends the health and safety knowledge they gain at work into the larger community.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
RAN: We struggled with creating a program that could include both field and office workers. We have some very tech savvy staff members and we also have staff who don’t even own a computer. We also want to make sure that we were including employees from both our Carbondale and Vail locations. Unlike many businesses, buy-in from our leadership team was not an obstacle. RA Nelson is quite fortunate to have a management team that not only supports but also participates in our safety and wellness programs.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
RAN: One of the ways you can earn points in our wellness program is by volunteering for community service. Not only do we earn points towards the program, but RA Nelson offers one paid day/year for all staff to dedicate to community volunteering.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
RAN: It’s not as easy as it sounds! Take time to research different programs and find out what truly matters to your staff. Seek out staff that are already dedicated to wellness and make them your program champions. Having a team of people promoting the program will help lessen the burden.