By Wendy Osher
In observance of Workplace Wellness Week, the County will co-sponsor a Workplace Wellness Fair this Thursday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kalana O Maui Building in Wailuku.
Those in attendance will receive tips from health experts on how to stay healthy in the workplace. Areas of discussion will include diet and nutrition, ergonomics, exercise incentives, health education, health screenings, and stress management.
“The Wellness Fair will offer local employers, our County and State employees and the public at large an opportunity to learn how to combat fatigue, manage stress and receive information on how to create or support a healthier workforce,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, who proclaimed April 1-7 Workplace Wellness Week in Maui County.
Maui County NPAC Coordinator Sandra McGuinness said the agency is honored to again co-sponsor this event alongside the County of Maui, and the Maui District Health Office.
“One important element of the fair this year is an educational component and sharing of information about work-site wellness policies,” said McGuinness. “We will highlight employers who have created healthy workplaces and hear from them the positive impacts gained. We hope employers and employees will join us on April 5.”
Dr.Lorrin Pang, head of the Maui District Health Office, expressed the cost savings for such prevention programs, and the importance of funding.
“Back in 2001, Dr. Dee Edington showed that workplace wellness can save $350 each year by helping a healthy person stay healthy. For everyone else, we can save $150 for every risk factor that that we eliminate,” said Dr. Pang.
The latest Harvard University analysis of studies conducted over the past three decades found an average savings of $3.27 in medical costs and an additional $2.73 in reduced absenteeism for every dollar invested, according to county officials.
Experts say that in addition to reducing sick leave and absenteeism, comprehensive workplace wellness programs can save employers money by lowering health plan expenditures, worker’s compensation claims and disability management costs, and increasing productivity.