Health and Wellbeing
IPL values people. This means that we care for the health and wellbeing of our employees and aim to create a balance between work and personal needs for everyone. Studies show that companies that manage wellness programs effectively profit from increased employee engagement and higher organisational performance.
The IPL Zero Harm Council has responsibility for health across the Group and each business unit and site offers health and wellbeing programs appropriate for local needs and to suit local regulatory and cultural requirements. From an organisational point of view, health and wellbeing initiatives can:
• reduce absenteeism
• improve overall work performance
• reduce workplace accidents and injuries
• improve staff morale
• assist IPL in being an ‘employer of choice’
• develop a healthy balance between work and home activities for our employees
• provide a supportive and healthy work environment that promotes effective teamwork and fosters professional growth
In addition, we encourage our employees to maintain their health for personal benefits such as a longer life, an improved quality of life, increased energy and happiness and reduced expenditure on medical providers and premiums.
All Australian and US employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
In Australia, the EAP was relaunched during 2017 through Converge International, providing up to five confidential specialist counselling sessions each year, available 24 hours per day. The EAP offers support for work and personal issues either face-to-face, over the telephone. Employees can also access the free Converge International portal online or directly on mobile devices through the new EAP Connect App. The portal offers tip sheets and handy hints on a range of lifestyle topics, including Ten Habits of Highly Effective Listening, Making Lifestyle Changes Stick, How Do I Know if I'm Not OK, Communication & Collaboration, and Creating a Positive Workplace (tips for managers and staff).
In the US, the EAP is available to employees and their immediate family members through SupportLinc, which offers up to eight face-to-face or over the phone counselling sessions, regardless of whether employees enrol in other Company benefit programs. Employees can log on to the SupportLinc website for access to thousands of helpful articles and tip sheets, including topics such as child care, elder care, education, legal and financial assistance, and more. SupportLinc is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The counselling offered through the IPL EAP can help with managing conflict, coping with change, stress, grief, career transitions, relationship issues, gambling, alcohol and substance abuse, parenting conflict, pain, trauma, anxiety, depression and many types of emotional difficulties.
Across our Australian sites, we promoted R U OK? Day on 13 September 2017, an initiative supported by the Australian Government to equip and encourage work mates to start a conversation whenever they notice that a colleague might need help to seek assistance. Employees were encouraged to take a five minute survey to assess their own levels of stress and mental health, and were offered tips on how to start conversations with colleagues who show the signs of stress described in the survey. In addition, the IPL EAP was also promoted to employees in conjunction with R U OK? Day.
|Stress management information and/or training is instigated at a site level as needs are identified by the relevant site manager. This may take the form of site wide training, training for specific work groups, or referral for an individual needing assistance in this manner. Counselling or other support services are also available in response to specific events, e.g. a natural disaster or site incident.|
Sleep and driver safety
During 2017, our Dyno Nobel Transportation (DNTI) and Distribution business in North America continued to operate a Driver Alertness Program for our current truck drivers and new hire drivers. The program aims to assist in reducing fatigue and help keep our drivers safe on the road. Drivers are screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and tested if found to be at risk. Those who are diagnosed with OSA are assisted to access treatment to improve their sleep. As with all of our drivers, determination for fitness for driving is made by the Department of Transport doctor. In the case of OSA, doctors confirm CPAP treatment compliance and monitor progress before issuing drivers with a medical card to drive. In addition, DNTI established a Transportation Drivers’ Council to promote weekly wellness activities and increase awareness of the importance of health and wellness. In Australia, ‘fitness for driving’ medical assessments are also conducted as part of the requirements for Dangerous Goods Drivers’ licencing. The issue of fatigue in the workplace and importance of sleep for good mental and physical health continues to be a focus.
Health assessments and Wellness Program
Across our US and Australian operations, occupational health assessments are also offered to employees. For example, we currently offer our US based employees confidential Wellness Screenings on an annual basis. The screenings focus on the early identification of personal modifiable health risk factors. This provides each employee with a picture of their overall health status including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and triglyceride levels, and the effects of smoking. Delivered by a third party professional health services provider, this screening information is provided confidentially to employees who are then assisted in partnering with their physician to take corrective action and improve health outcomes where required. Because the screening is conducted annually, a six month check-up is included to track progress and assist in improving their health. Employees in Australia who are exposed to noise, dust and other occupational exposures undergo relevant periodic medical assessments to monitor and ensure that their health is maintained.
In the US, the Wellness Program inspired great results in 2017:
• 67.9% of participants improved blood pressure levels,
• 70.5% improved LDL Cholesterol levels,
• 62.5% improved blood Glucose levels, and
• 64.3% improved Triglycerides.
During 2017, the IPL 8 Week Challenge was redesigned for 2018 and extended to all employees globally. The Challenge will begin on February 5th and is focused on health and wellbeing, with employees earning points for their teams by achieving targets related to being active every day, eating fruit and vegetables, drinking plenty of water and achieving an overall team goal focused on total waist centimetres lost and total weight lost. The Challenge is being promoted to employees by email and on the internal intranet through a weekly theme with bonus points available through engagement in weekly themed activities.
Some of our sites in Australia, such as Phosphate Hill and Moranbah, have access to a range of health and fitness support facilities and services such as a gymnasium, other sport and recreational facilities and lifestyle, nutrition, health and fitness professional support and advice. Several other sites offer a subsidy towards gym membership or other fitness programs.
Giving up smoking
In the US, a tobacco cessation program is also offered in association with the Wellness Screenings program and is conducted by the same third party health services provider. We incentivise this program by reimbursing the employee’s costs for any approved tobacco cessation products once an employee has successfully completed the program and stopped smoking. During 2017, 9.5% of repeat participants quit using tobacco through this program.
Reducing sprains, strains and manual handling injuries
During 2017 we continued to focus on early intervention and prevention of all types of sprains, strains and manual handling injuries during the year through a combination of eliminating manual handling tasks where possible, and encouraging employees to report any signs of strain injuries as soon as they arise. In the US and Canada alone, 205 early reports of pain and possible strains allowed many of them to be treated with first aid, successfully reducing the severity of work related injuries. In the US, Mexico and Canada, investigation of incidents includes assessment of manual task injury reduction action items to further reduce the risk of injury. In addition, an Injury Prevention Active Warmup Program for all manual task employees was designed during 2017 to help them prepare their bodies and stretch before work. This program will be rolled out in February 2018, with a similar program for office workers to follow. Reductions in musculoskeletal injury rates were also reported across our Asia Pacific business due to the ongoing success of the Hazardous Manual Task Injury Reduction Program, which was established in Australia last year.
Men's Health Week 2017
Men’s Health Week was promoted to our employees this year from June 12th to 18th. The 2017 theme was ‘Healthy body, healthy mind: keeping the right balance’ and explored the different ways men and boys are managing to keep healthy, both physically and emotionally, in a busy and sometimes challenging world. This year, employees were encouraged to raise Men’s Health Week as a culture share, tool box talk or an agenda item at their next meeting, with the aim of talking about overall health, which is more than just a visit to the local GP to address an illness, but also involves regular check-ups to maintain a good quality of life, engaging in good health practices and building rewarding emotional relationships with family and friends, as mental health is just as important as physical health. Employees were directed to the Men’s Health Week website and were also reminded of the internal resources IPL offers to support Men’s Health, including the HSE Men’s Health page on our intranet, which contains information to increase employees’ understanding of heart health, mental health and general wellbeing, the IPL Employee Assistance Program, and the IPL Work and Life Hub.
In line with our ongoing focus to empower all employees to invest in their health and wellbeing at work and at home, the IPL Work and Life Hub was relaunched during 2017. The Hub is an online support service available to our Australian based employees. Run by our partner, SeventeenHundred, the program is designed to assist our employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance and can help with a range of queries and concerns, from mental and physical well-being to relating to parenting and caring responsibilities. The relaunch included a month-long promotion, which covered 3 life stages, and was promoted through work team meetings, pre-start and toolbox talks, site safety shares, groups on IPL SharePoint and/or IPL Yammer and posters on site notice boards.
Once registered, employees have access to information and services to help support a healthy work/life balance. Australian employees can access the Program from work or home, and services offered include:
• Finding a nanny or babysitting service profile to ensure the care giver is a suitable match for an employee’s family
• Searching for accredited childcare centres, primary and secondary schools close to work or home
• Searching for elder care and disability care information
• Accessing health and nutrition information
• Finding information on government benefits
• The Keeping Connected program, which provides fortnightly emails regarding the stages of pregnancy and the developments of your child.
• Resources for Remote/Onsite Workers Work and Wellbeing
• Parenting, including a Return to Work after Parental Leave Checklist
• Transitioning to retirement
During 2017 IPL developed the Remote and Onsite Workers Pack in conjunction with SeventeenHundred to support our Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) and Drive In Drive Out (DIDO) workforce. The Pack includes case studies written using actual IPL remote worker experiences and contains a guide for remote work and wellbeing with information on topics including:
• Benefits and challenges of onsite work
• Onsite and At Home coping strategies
• Help for the families of onsite workers
• Taking care of yourself
• Taking care of the kids
• Taking care of your relationship
• How to find your happy place at work
• Staying positive at work
• Lifestyle lessons from a FIFO worker
• How to fight fatigue and stay safe at work
• Nutrition advice for onsite worker
• Making your money count
• How to find strength in the face of workplace change
• Surviving in a tough work environment