Healthy at work

Employers' efforts include cholesterol screenings and softball games

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Georgia-Pacific is among the area’s companies that promote health and safety — in the workplace and beyond.

The mill in downtown Camas provides an on site nurse and physical therapist, for employees. Fresh fruit can be found in the nurse’s office, and sometimes in the clock room.

Complimentary “Get Well. Stay Well.” wellness journals, trail guides and tips for warming up, cooling down and walking more effectively for fitness are available. The journals include daily food and exercise logs and a list of recommended health screenings and vaccinations.

During health and wellness fairs, employees can find out their weight and waist and height measurements, as well as blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

“It makes it more convenient for employees, so that it gets done,” Kristi Ward, GP public affairs manager, said regarding the on site screenings. “It happens at work.”

The fair also features fitness center representatives and local wellness providers.

Camas mill workers can sign up to participate in an activity-based incentive program.

“Employees are rewarded by the number of steps they take and exercise time that they log,” Ward said.

It is a voluntary online program that involves monetary rewards.

The goal of all of these efforts, according to Ward, is healthier and safer employees.

An ergonomic committee, consisting of mill employees, determines ways to prevent muscular skeletal disorders. Workers face repetitive motion concerns and issues such as how far to reach for tools and the proper way to lift paper products, cases, bearings and maintenance equipment.

Employees appreciate city’s wellness efforts

Washougal employees have opportunities to “Lunch and Learn” several times a year.

Topics have included ‘Growing Tomatoes,’ featuring Gordon French, co-owner of LJC Feed and Patty-O Garden and Country Store, in Camas.

A class, ‘Stress: A Way of Life or Fact of Life?’ was taught by an employee of ComPsych, the city’s employee assistance program provider through the Association of Washington Cities.

Other wellness activities planned, according to Washougal Human Resources Director Jeanette Cefalo, are classes with Body Bliss Yoga, in Washougal, and an annual four-week aerobic challenge against Camas that concludes with a family softball game this summer.

“The yoga classes, along with the cost of the ‘Lunch and Learn,’ were made possible with a grant we received from AWC for $310,” she said. “We are also able to realize a two percent discount in our medical premiums for Regence participants, as a result of earning the AWC Well City Award.”

Rose Jewell, assistant to the mayor and city administrator, said there are several things she and her co-workers do, to encourage each other to be healthy.

They promote participation in city-sponsored wellness events and compliment each other on success. There are group walks, as well as afternoon smoothies and salad lunch sessions.

“We also share health and wellness information,” Jewell said.

Sherry Montgomery, a code enforcement officer for the Washougal Police Department, said she has been working diligently for the past 1.5 years to improve her overall health and create healthier habits.

“The [city’s] wellness program is very important to me,” she said.

Montgomery has been on a gluten free diet since Jan. 1, 2013.

She eats a lot of fruits, vegetables and fish.

“I drink as much water as I can stand, and I have started making fruit-infused waters to bring to work,” Montgomery said. “I eat out very rarely. I brown bag my lunch everyday and eat as few processed items as possible.”

She walks and jogs regularly. This year, Montgomery has participated in three organized runs — a 5K, 8K and a 10K.

She won a “Biggest Loser” competition among female city employees, by losing 16.8 pounds in three months this year. The program was open to any city employee who wanted to participate, at a cost of $10 per person.

The four men and eight women competed separately.

Montgomery put her $80 in winnings toward the purchase of a kayak.

She is a member of the city’s wellness committee.

Washougal employees who have Regence Blue Shield insurance are offered an opportunity to fill out a health questionnaire on an annual basis. Every few years, a Regence representative goes to the city and employees can have their weight, height, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides checked.

“We receive our results right there,” Montgomery said. “The representative discusses with us areas in which we could make improvements and where we are doing well.”

Employees are offered the opportunity to work with a health coach on a monthly basis as they move toward their health goals.

The City reimburses workers for a portion of the cost of their yearly gym membership.

Montgomery said she appreciates that the city promotes the overall health and wellness of all employees.

“The key is taking advantage of what’s available to you, because no one can improve your health but you,” she said.