Industry Trends

Here’s How Manufacturing Employees are Staying Healthy

manufacturing employees health

Manufacturers have one of the highest percentages of workers who are eligible for health benefits provided by their employer. In fact, 92 percent of manufacturers were eligible for health insurance benefits in 2015.

While healthcare coverage is certainly a key factor in overall wellness, an employee’s health ultimately comes down to the personal decisions they make every day.

Here are some of the ways manufacturing employees are staying healthy at work and at home.

They’re using activity trackers to understand their health.

One out of every two Americans suffer from a chronic condition, yet less than one-third of workers know at least one of their key health facts. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say putting clinical information into people’s hands can help alter or prevent a lifetime of disease.

While many individuals have opted for personal fitness trackers, businesses are also starting to provide their employees with these devices as part of an overall wellness approach. Some fitness tracker manufacturers, such as Fitbit, have very successful results — claiming that the average employee involved in a Fitbit wellness program counts 60 to 80 percent more steps than the average person.

“With turnkey, easy-to-use software and services that integrate with leading health programs,” Fitbit’s website states, “Fitbit helps corporate wellness leaders plan, track, manage and execute wellness programs that drive employee participation and deliver meaningful, valuable results.”

Manufacturing employees are quitting smoking.

Employees in construction and manufacturing have higher rates of smoking than people in other industries. That’s why many manufacturing companies have implemented tobacco-free workplaces or smoking cessation programs.

Johnson & Johnson, for example, has introduced a Worldwide Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy. The policy, as its name suggests, prohibits tobacco use at all operating company locations. The company provides ongoing advanced communication about this initiative as part of overall wellness efforts. Additionally, because people are more likely to quit smoking if other smokers in their households quit, Johnson & Johnson offered cessation support to the families of employees who smoked.

As of 2010, 97 percent of Johnson & Johnson’s companies were in compliance with the Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy. Through its efforts, the company helped 42 percent of employees quit smoking.

They’re participating in wellness initiatives.

As they continue to find data supporting the fact that healthy employees perform better, more and more business leaders are investing in wellness programs. Companies are implementing flexible vacation policies, work from home days, healthy lunches and even nap rooms.

Due to the nature of the manufacturing sector, however, it can be a little harder to engage manufacturing employees in wellness. Here are some of the ways employees are still getting involved and staying healthy:

  • Setting annual health goals
  • Attending stretch breaks and safety meetings
  • Getting involved in a wellness committee
  • Participating in charitable walks and other events

They’re making breaks a priority.

Whether they’re too busy or afraid it will be looked down upon, employees far too often feel discouraged from taking breaks at work. The reality, though, is that this habit can damage both their physical and mental health.

For one, breaks help employees stay focused. Humans aren’t built to focus hard on one thing for a long time. Stretching attention too long can lead to periods of zoning out or irritability, neither of which are safe for manufacturers working in hazardous situations. According to a study done at the University of British Columbia, breaks also play a big role in helping people make important connections.

“Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness or inattentiveness,” Prof. Kalina Christoff, UBC Dept. of Psychology, explains. “But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream – much more active than when we focus on routine tasks.”

How do you keep your manufacturing employees healthy?

Here at Apple Rubber, we’ve made health a priority. All of our employees receive a FitBit and are encouraged to take part in our BlueCross BlueShield healthy eating initiatives and smoking cessation programs.

What manufacturing wellness initiatives do your business use? What kind of successes have you found? Let us know by tweeting us at @AppleRubber.