The 2017 NSW Mining Health, Safety, Environment and Community conference saw the launch of an industry health and wellbeing strategy called ‘RESHAPE’. RESHAPE is an innovative approach to weight management in NSW mining operations.
Launching the RESHAPE program was Ethos Health’s Dr Jane Watson and Kylie Ah Wong, General Manager (Health, Safety & Training) at Glencore Coal Assets Australia.
Kylie opened with the question, “Is obesity the largest cause of premature death in NSW mine workers?” While the answer to this question is not known, obesity certainly affects a large proportion of mine workers and impacts profoundly on individual health (illness, injury, quality of life, life expectancy). Overweight and obesity are also associated with more time off work, higher injury rates and slower recovery from illness and injury. In response, RESHAPE has been developed to provide an industry-wide weight management strategy for NSW mines.
Review of health in NSW Coal mines.
In 2015, a review was completed on obesity in NSW mines to better understand the problem. Height and weight data was analysed for over 10,000 employees in the mining workforce using data provided by Coal Services Health for NSW coal miners. It was found that 83% of the mining workforce were overweight or obese. This is well above national obesity levels (63%).
How to tackle the problem of overweight and obesity in NSW mines?
In 2015, an industry workshop was held for stakeholders to develop the key aspects of an obesity strategy for the industry. The workshop attendees included members of the mining industry, including representatives from individual mining operations and organisations, the NSW Department of Industry, Union representatives from the CFMEU, Ethos Health, Coal Services Health, Workplace Health Association of Australia and public health and research organisations.
A strategic approach to the prevention and management of overweight and obesity in the mining industry.
Following the industry workshop, the Obesity Blueprint was developed to provide an industry-wide framework for promoting effective weight management (launched at the NSW Mining conference in 2016). The Blueprint identified the importance of action across the areas of leadership, systems and policy, culture and environment, education and training, partnerships and communication and engagement.
Learn More: NSW Mining Obesity BluePrint
Given there is a lot to be learnt about preventing and managing obesity in the workplace, the Blueprint has a strong focus on research, evaluation and monitoring to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of different workplace strategies on individuals, the workplace and the broader community.
The vision for RESHAPE is to support miners lose one kilo at a time, one miner at a time, one year at a time. The current population trend is to increase 0.3kg weight per year. By losing 1kg weight per person, per year, the population trend would be reversed fourfold each year.
How can action be taken across the whole mining industry?
The launch at this year’s conference was primarily focused on introducing the RESHAPE Implementation Guide, which is a step-by-step process for NSW mining operations to implement obesity strategies in their workplace.
- A long term strategy to coordinate obesity-related initiatives in NSW mining operations
- A guide to implementing obesity initiatives that are evidence based and follow sound workplace health principles
- A consistent approach to evaluating initiatives to determine their impact and effectiveness, and identify areas for improvement
- An approach to enable industry-wide learning through continuous improvement.
RESHAPE is not…
- A specific program. Workplaces are not prescribed certain initiatives, but rather are provided with a process to identify their own needs and implement initiatives suited to their needs.
- A one-off. The RESHAPE approach is not intended to be a ‘before’ and ‘after’ intervention, but instead provides an overarching framework for ongoing action and continuous improvement.
The Implementation Guide is the next step in demonstrating the commitment of the NSW minerals industry to a sustained approach to fostering healthy and productive workplaces that support the prevention and management of overweight and obesity.
The NSW Minerals Council will be running workshops throughout the second half of 2017 in Sydney, Singleton and Dubbo. These workshops are aimed to equip employers with:
- A plan to assist sites gain management commitment to become part of the initiative and implement a strategy
- The knowledge, skills and resources to develop and implement a plan to manage and treat overweight and obesity onsite
If you would like any further information regarding the workshops, or support with your health and wellbeing programs please contact us on (02) 4962 8700.
Learn More: A wellness program that works