Cigarette smoking remains the largest cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States. About 20 percent of the nation's adult workforce still smokes cigarettes, which not only threatens employees' health and well-being, but also results in decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and increased workplace maintenance costs. Employers can help improve employee health - and overall business health - by reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. (www.cdcfoundation.org)
A Smoke-Free Policy is one that prohibits use of smoking on company/organization property. Smoking is defined as inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying or possessing any lighted or heated tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah, and other lighted or heated combustible plant material. Smoking also includes the use of electronic smoking devices (e.g. electronic cigarettes). For any properties that are owned, the policy must cover the entire property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the business/office space. Exceptions may be made when a property is connected to other properties that the owner or lessee has no control over.
WellSpots are required to implement a Smoke-Free Policy at various designation levels. For sample policies and tips for implementing in your organization, please visit the provided resources.
A Tobacco-Free Policy is one that prohibits use of tobacco products on company/organization property. The policy covers tobacco products in all forms including, but not limited to: smoking tobacco of any kind, oral tobacco products (dips, chewable tobacco, etc.) and any form of smoking device (e.g., electronic cigarettes). For any properties that are owned, the policy must cover the entire property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the business/office space. Exceptions may be made when a property is connected to other properties that the owner or lessee has no control over.
WellSpots are required to implement a Tobacco-Free Policy at various designation levels. For sample policies and tips for implementing in your organization, visit the provided resources.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other federal laws and rules require almost all health insurance plans in the U.S. to cover some level of tobacco cessation treatments. Tobacco cessation is a preventive service, and federal guidance suggests the following items be covered:
- 4 sessions of individual, group and phone counseling
- 90 days of all FDA-approved smoking cessation medications
- 2 quit attempts per year
- No prior authorization for treatments
- No cost-sharing
WellSpot designation does not require that all of these items be covered under the employee health plan. Organizations seeking designation should, at minimum, provide coverage for counseling and smoking cessation medications.
Providing lactation accommodations in the workplace saves employers money and doesn't require a lot of resources. Employees simply need reasonable break times, a private space, and employer support. Federal law now requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees with time and a space to express milk.
In partnership with the Tulane Mary Amelia Women’s Health Center (MAC), the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition recognizes employers in Louisiana as Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champions and Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces for the efforts in supporting their employees who breastfeed or pump milk to feed their babies.
What does it mean to be Breastfeeding-Friendly?
How do I apply for a designation?
A worksite wellness program is an employee centered approach to improve health outcomes, health behaviors, productivity and morale in the workplace. Wellness programs include a coordinated and comprehensive set of strategies, which promote and support overall health and safety for all employees, such as healthy eating, physical activity, mental health and healthy aging. Strategies may include, but are not limited to: wellness policies, preventive health screenings, access to healthy foods, fitness programs, tobacco-cessation programs, and educational seminars.
Worksite wellness programs can be implemented at little to no cost while creating an environment that supports health. Offering wellness activities can provide employees the opportunity to improve their health, reduce their risk of chronic disease, and reduce their healthcare costs. This leads to increased productivity and profit for businesses and other organizations.
WellSpots receive credit for several phases of worksite wellness program development and implementation. The Well-Ahead Worksite Wellness Resource Guide is a simple, step-by-step tool to assist you in meeting the worksite wellness benchmarks. This guide, in addition to the resources below and the Well-Ahead Worksite Wellness Webpage can help you to implement a successful worksite wellness program regardless of your organization's size or available resources.
Establishing healthy guidelines for vending machines ensures that employees, students and the public have healthy choices when selecting snacks and beverages. In order to meet this benchmark, at least 50% of vending items in each snack and beverage machine must meet one of the approved healthy vending guidelines provided below. Healthy vending guidelines should also apply to snacks and beverages provided to employees by the company. Ideally, for a vending items to be considered healthy, it should be low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. Several national vending standards have been developed to support healthy nutrition guidelines.
The following guidelines and lists of acceptable snack and beverage items meet the nutrition standards for this benchmark:
NANA, AHA and GSA/HHS approved vending options
NAMA's Fit Pick Product List
Eat Fit Vending Product List
Pennington Vending List for Schools
Nemours Vending Guidelines
Healthy vending options can be promoted to employees in a number of ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Consult your vendor regarding prices. Mark healthier snack items at a lower cost.
- Place healthy snacks at eye level (center rows of the vending machine).
- Display nutrition information for the healthy options.
- Indicate healthy options by using markers, logos, stickers, signs, etc.
In order to meet this benchmark, WellSpots must provide evidence that a nutrition-based policy has been adopted and enforced within the organization. A nutrition-based policy covers food and beverages that may be served in meetings, events, vending machines, snack bars and/or cafeterias. These types of policies promote healthy food options in the workplace and encourage healthy habits.
The majority of people's waking hours are spent at work, and many of those hours are spent in meetings and conferences. Foods available at meetings and conferences are often high in fat, added sugars, and sodium, and contain few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Meetings also commonly involve long periods of sitting, which reduces concentration, productivity, and energy levels. Supporting a culture of health through policy can send a positive message and help employees eat well and be physically active during the workday. Any change, big or small, to create or improve the health and wellness of your employees is valued. Below are recommended resources that support the development and adoption of healthy vending and meeting policies.