The Lafarge Concrete Company is very proactive when it comes to the health of its employees. In fact, they offer free health screenings and online assistance to their employees. Their goal is to improve overall health and reduce the risk of preventable illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and nutrition related health problems.
Keith Odinet, General Manager of Lafarge North America and Kim Edwards, Accounting Supervisor, teamed up to take additional steps to improve the health of their employees. Odinet and Edwards, in an effort to support the Lafarge Wellness Iniative and improve participation by their staff, partnered with the Corporate Wellness Department of East Jefferson General Hospital to develop a health and wellness strategy.
Based on aggregate data collected from the cholesterol screens, a series of educational programs including nutritional counseling, healthy lectures and an interactive weight management program were developed.
The Lafarge Wellness Program was designed to meet the needs of everyone, including drivers, support staff, and office personnel. To accomplish this goal, early morning and afternoon sessions were offered onsite to ensure accessibility to each employee.
Also, unique to this program was the accessibility to the Corporate Wellness Team at EJGH as a resource for health-related questions that most people have, but seldom have the opportunity to ask.
All employees were given the option to participate in an individual nutritional consultation with a Registered Dietician. The nutritional consultations were designed to educate individuals on the principles of sound nutrition and to motivate participation. Edwards explained, " Individual sessions will help out employees get a jump start on the new program." The consultations were provided onsite at Lafarge to ensure accessibility and compliance. The program was an overwhelming success with approximately 55 individuals participating in the offering.
In June 2008, Lafarge partnered with EJGH to address high blood pressure, a growing concern among their drivers and staff. A successful lecture series was implemented to increase awareness of high blood pressure, its cause and how to manage and prevent this illness. Building upon the previous program in 2008, healthy lectures were included as part of the regular monthly safety meetings. The lecture topics addressed key health concerns including nutrition, weight management, exercise, stress management, and sleep apnea. In addition, the lectures allowed time for employees to ask health-related questions to our team of Exercise Physiologists, Registered Dieticians and Respiratory Therapists.
Sleep Disorders Lecture
Sleep apnea is a growing concern for the commercial driving industry, especially for those who perform shift work. To address these concerns, the final lecture of the year included a discussion on the topic of sleep disorders and who was at risk for developing sleep problems. After the presentation, employees completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which is used to help identify those who are at risk for sleep apnea. This information was well received, as each participant had the opportunity to ask questions and explore their individual risks for sleep apnea.
2009 Lafarge Fit Club Challenge
A unique weight loss program was initiated to help motivated individuals interested in weight loss and to foster increased awareness of the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in the workplace and at home.
Employees were encouraged to form team of at least three or as individuals. The objective was simple: lose 10% of your collective group weight or individual weight over a 10-week period to win a cash prize.
Participants received e-mail or telephonic wellness coaching as well as weekly exercise reminders and nutritional recipes to help keep them on track.
There were several teams who lost a combined weight of 268 lbs., which is an average of 8.8 pounds per participant! The winning team was "The Pretenders" who lost 6.7% of their collective weight or a total of 41 lbs. The overall individual winner was Daniel Kinser, who lost a total of 31 lbs, 14% of his total body weight. Larry Barnett and Julie Kenny were the second and third place winners with weight losses equal to 21 lbs. and 15.5 lbs, respectively.