Health Links (HL): Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
Regional Transportation District (RTD): Our employees have passion – about transit, communities, and the region as a whole. RTD employee health and safety helps our employees build resilience to be able to deliver safe, clean, reliable, and cost-effective services to the millions of people we serve every day.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
RTD: RTD offers a comprehensive workplace employee safety, health and rehabilitation program. Including employee safety committees and meetings, an onsite health and rehabilitation team, (8) onsite wellness centers, well-being promotion programs for employees, disease management evaluation, health coaching and education, onsite physical therapy, injury prevention and return-to-work conditioning programs in conjunction with worker’s compensation, recreational programming, and an employee assistance program.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
RTD: We work closely with our healthcare providers to evaluate our program and plan and implement future programs. We evaluate program data and ROI annually and compare to previous years. We review and analyze injury and accident data and implement programs to reduce and improve employee safety. We complete an annual employee survey to review current programming and evaluate needs for future programming.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
RTD: The initial obstacle included creating buy in from our Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team. This program began in 1987 and there was very little evidence-based research to validate wellness programs and their impact on employee well-being and safety. We were also the first transit agency in North America to have an employee wellness program. The wellness program was combined with our employee development and training program as an incentive for employee retention and evolved into the comprehensive program.
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
RTD: Yes, we are involved in charitable races annually. Our Champions of Transit cycling team raises over $10,000 annually for the American Diabetes Association. Volunteers also take part in community transit events, such as Bike to Work Day.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
RTD: Keep it simple at first. Combine your company purpose into everything you offer employees. Focus on the triad of purpose, environment and culture. Ask your employees what they would like to see you offer. Many ideas will be low or no cost to you as an employer and it will make your employees happier while at work. Employees spend most of their time in the workplace. Take advantage of free community programs you can bring in house. Remember employee well-being and safety is about the entire human being – physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, social, intellectual. Let employees be your champions of programs to help with staffing and to build leadership.