by DON PROCTER
Health and wellness initiatives in the workplace are gaining ground.Aside from the obvious reason — a healthy worker is a productive worker — they are a means of "controlling the escalating costs of health benefit programs."
That, says Mike Yorke, president of Carpenters' Local 27, is part of the rationale for the union retaining a health care provider to offer checkups to members and their families at the union's annual summer picnic in Toronto.
Blood pressure (BP), total blood cholesterol and other tests such as body mass index were conducted by a team of nurses at this year's picnic. Individuals with results outside a healthy range were advised by nurses how to improve their condition.
"They (Local 27) want individuals to be healthier, smarter, to work hard and live long," says Mike Neheli, president of Manion Wilkins and Associates Limited, the union's third-party employee benefits administrator.
This is the fourth year that a health kiosk has been set up at Local 27's annual summer picnic, which draws 3,000 to 4,000 members and their families. Held at Local 27's office in Vaughan, Ont. the picnic's main attractions are carnival rides, live music and a barbecue.
The notion of adding a health booth "came out of programs developed over the last few years by many pension/ benefits administrators and trustees," says Yorke.