Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, celebrates the 18th annual National Public Health Week (NPHW) the first week in April by focusing on ways wellness programs can reap positive impacts on workers' health and help employers contain health care costs.
"Prevention makes good business sense. Taking simple steps to create workplace wellness, such as posting hand-washing reminders, catering meetings with healthy foods or organizing workplace walking groups can really go a long way," said OCHD Manager/Health Officer Kathy Forzley. "Healthy employees cost less. At least 25 percent of health care costs incurred by working adults are attributed to modifiable health behaviors such as diet, lack of exercise, tobacco use and high stress."
The workplace and the health of the workers within it are closely linked. Effective workplace programs, policies, and environments which are health-focused and worker-centered – such as Oakland County's OakFit employee wellness initiative - have the potential to significantly benefit employers, employees, their families, and communities. OakFit has helped employees with high risk factors receive the medical guidance they need and has helped Oakland County save $17 million in employee health care costs.
The CDC has a site with a toolkit for workplace health protection and promotion that provides information, tools, resources, and guidance to practitioners interested in establishing or enhancing workplace health and safety programs. Employers can learn more at www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion.
Here are a few other ways to encourage worksite wellness:
- Start an employee walking club for employees to walk while on lunch or breaks.
- Offer health screenings for employees that include testing for cholesterol levels, glucose, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI).
- Educate employees about workplace safety regulations and train employees to recognize unsafe or unhealthy settings.
- Depending on your workforce, make sure information is available in multiple languages.
- Create a work environment in which workers feel comfortable reporting unsafe work conditions or workplace abuse.
- Participate in workplace safety trainings and take advantage of workplace wellness efforts, such as flu shot clinics or exercise programs.
- Volunteer! Serve as a workplace fire drill captain, organize a lunchtime walking group or give out hand-washing information during flu season.
For more information on Health Division services or health related resources, find us on Facebook at Public Health Oakland or follow us at twitter.com/publichealthOC. You can also call Nurse on Call at 1-800-888-5533 or visit www.oakgov.com/health.
About National Public Health Week
Since 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week, communities across the United States have observed National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. Each year, National Public Health Week focuses its effort on a different theme. This year's theme is "Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money." The 2013 theme was developed to highlight the value of prevention and the importance of well-supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending. National Public Health Week runs April 1-7. For more information, visit www.nphw.org.
For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer at Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410.