Alcoa and Rio in good health

RIO TINTO and Alcoa have been recognised by a Western Australian health program for their efforts to encourage workers to make positive lifestyle changes.

Karma Barndon
Rio Tinto and Alcoa have won gold and silver respectively for their workplace wellness efforts.

Rio Tinto and Alcoa have won gold and silver respectively for their workplace wellness efforts.

The Healthier Workplace WA program wants WA workers to be the healthiest in the world by supporting development of health and wellbeing programs focused  on smoking, healthy eating, alcohol, physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

According to statistics, workers who make healthy lifestyle choices are at lower risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Workers are also more likely to enjoy life, both at work and at home.

For Healthier Workplace WA manager Emily Davey, the growing enthusiasm and commitment to workplace health in WA and the Recognised Healthy Workplace program is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate leadership and success.

Davey said recognition brought direct benefits to employees and could also enhance business reputation and grow workplace culture.

In addition, research shows workplaces that actively invest in health and wellbeing can expect staff to take fewer sickies and to be more motivated and productive; which in turn can boost staff retention rates.

Healthier Workplace WA supports workplaces in planning, delivering and reviewing health and wellbeing programs.

This can involve catering, smoke and alcohol-free workplace policies and strategies that encourage physical activity.

Companies can access free resources to develop policies and strategies or use one of Healthier Workplace WA’s specialist programs and implement changes to encourage healthy behaviour.

Workplaces that show commitment and leadership in creating healthy workplaces can achieve recognition as either a gold, silver or bronze Recognised Healthy Workplace.

Rio Tinto and Alcoa received gold and silver status respectively. 

In Rio Tinto’s case it was recognised for its comprehensive workplace health and wellbeing program operating on-site in the Pilbara and at its Perth offices and operations centre.

The program recently focused on eliminating the stigma of mental illness and on making sure proper support was available for injured or sick workers.

Wellbeing activities include a voluntary, anonymous wellbeing survey of employees; a wellbeing education program focusing on building resilience, health, purpose and belonging; and the consideration of new community partnerships supporting wellbeing.

On-site, a health and lifestyle coordinator holds education sessions on specific health topics each month and facilitates working groups that meet regularly to discuss employee health and wellbeing for each site.

Also on-site workers are encouraged to walk or cycle or use on-site gyms, tennis and basketball courts, swimming pools and squash courts to exercise before, during or after work.

Healthy catering guidelines in place mean service providers must design healthy menus with low cholesterol, sugar, fat and sodium content.

Rio Tinto also gives staff subsidised entry to events such as City to Surf and the RSPCA Million Paws Walk.

Meanwhile aluminium giant Alcoa was recognised with silver for its health and wellbeing achievements. 

Its wellness committee meets monthly to discuss opportunities across the company’s sites, and the committee recently developed a health and wellbeing action plan to guide future activities.

Alcoa also encourages workers with quit smoking courses, a greatest loser competition and the Global Corporate Challenge.

Healthy messages are also transmitted through noticeboards, email alerts, posters, crib room folders and health toolbox sessions.

Healthier Workplace WA is a federal, state and territory government Initiative developed under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.

The program is delivered in WA by the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council.

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