Better health makes for better employees, creating savings for the city, which is the goal of a new state-funded wellness program approved by Canal Winchester City Council.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation has awarded the city a multiyear grant to create an employee wellness program. The initial grant period, according to Public Works Director Matt Peoples, is three years, with the city receiving $3,400 each year for program administration.
Peoples said officials hope that improving employee health and wellness will save the city money in lost work hours and healthcare costs.
"That's what we're striving for," he said. "For the past few years, we have had biometric screenings and clinical health risk assessments as part of our wellness efforts. This grant will expand the programming to help us try and get to the preventable health issues, like smoking cessation, through education, awareness and interaction."
The city will administer the programming while partnering with Mount Carmel on a workplace health program to offer lunchtime education and exercise sessions which are available to all city staff members and city council members.
"If the employees attend a minimum of two-thirds of the sessions offered, they will be rewarded with a $50 contribution toward their healthcare costs," Peoples said.
"Just about all of the employees are participating at this point, and we're meeting every other Thursday, doing things like nutrition classes and meeting with a physiologist to learn what exercise is best for you and your body type."
Peoples said the city will be able to reapply for the grant in the future, as long as it is offered and as long as the city remains compliant by maintaining the health and wellness programming and employee participation.
"We have to reapply in the future but as long as we're compliant, it's almost automatic, so this is an easy win for the city," he said.