Make Your Employees Healthier

  • Posted on: 10 February 2015
  • By: Charles Redhead

"We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to food choices" says Heather Ratliff, a registered nurse and health coach.   She says employers can help by implementing a food and beverages policy in the workplace.  Ratliff says you need to strike a balance between free will and total control.  She says if the choices you give workers are too limited, workers will protest.  She explains you make it as easy as possible for workers to make healthy choices, while making it more difficult for them to choose unhealthy food and beverage options. 

  1. Make water available throughout the workplace for free or at little cost, while moving pop machines to the far reaches of the facility.
  2. Place healthy snacks at eye level and unhealthy ones on the lower shelves.
  3. If you have a cafeteria make vegetables the side dish for main dishes and require workers to specifically request options like fries.
  4. Impose a sugar tax on unhealthy foods, charging more for items like chocolate bars than you do for raisins and nuts.

The Cleveland Clinic imposed a similar program with dramatic results.  The hospital employs 18,000 people on its main campus alone.  It made the following changes in it's cafeteria: 

  • replaced whole and 2% milk with skim and 1%;
  • replaced fryers with ovens;
  • removed sugar sweetened beverages;
  • took away the can openers and gave the cooks knives so that 70% of what's served is now cooked, cut and processed on site;
  • used citrus fruits to flavour foods instead of salt and other additives

The results.....in 15 months the hospital staff lost a staggering 180,800 pounds.

source....the OHSInsider January 2015 edition