According to executive leadership, cultural and industry factors create myriad health challenges for Future Fuel Chemical Company, challenges met head on by the company’s wellness programs.
“We are a chemical manufacturing facility, not in the healthcare industry, which makes workplace wellness even more of a challenge,” said Sam Dortch, executive vice president and general manager.
“Wellness is not something employees are accustomed to. Many of our employees work a rotating 12-hour shift schedule which impacts wellness, too. With staffing at a minimum, attendance, alertness and overall well-being are of utmost importance for our workforce.”
Located in Batesville, the company has been in operation for a decade and for 30 years before that as Eastman Chemical. In that time, Dortch said, management has gained a greater appreciation for the serious ramifications posed by ignoring poor health habits among the staff, including increased lost time due to illness, higher turnover and higher direct costs such as health insurance, worker’s comp and disability. The company’s wellness program takes a proactive approach toward improving employee health.
“To support employee wellness, we have two full-time registered nurses who facilitate numerous wellness initiatives,” he said. “These include weight management, walking programs, tobacco cessation, diabetes management, completing health-risk assessments, and Lunch and Learns covering a variety of health topics.
“We also provide on-site clinical evaluations such as skin cancer and prostrate screenings, and sponsor free flu shot administration.”
The company also demonstrates its commitment to employees’ healthy habits by providing a 2,500-square-foot onsite workout facility free of charge to employees and their families. Also on the premises is an employee park equipped with nature trails, basketball, volleyball, tennis, fishing and a disc golf course. In recent years, several employee fitness clubs have been established, including a cycling club, fishing club and archery club, to name a few.
Dortch said the company measures the effectiveness of its wellness programs according to several key measurements.
“We look at indicators such as health-risk assessment percentage completions, trends and focus areas,” he said. “We also monitor fitness center usage, number of flu shots administered and the success of our tobacco cessation and diabetes management programs.
“Our primary sign that we have good workplace health at our facility is our active, involved employee participation, which has resulted in lower lost attendance numbers, lower health insurance costs and lower worker’s compensation rates.”
Future Fuel supports a variety of employee health initiatives administered by two full-time registered nurses. Among these are smoking cessation, diabetes management, clinical screenings and flu shots, all provided at no cost to employees. The company also provides a 2,500-square-foot onsite workout facility for employees and their families free of charge.