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For the second year in a row, Business First named the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) wellness program first among nine medium-size company finalists competing in its Western New York 2019 Healthiest Employer contest.
The program compared the BPU with eight other finalists in the medium-sized category for companies of 100-224 employees. In addition, the BPU was named a finalist in the competition for the last three years.
The recognition was announced at a recent event in Buffalo co-sponsored by Business First, Springbuk, Independent Health, Wegmans and Walsh Duffield. Wellness Team Leader Trenton Lutes and immediate past Wellness Team Leader Tammy Anderson were on hand to accept the honor.
The BPU’s health and wellness program includes activities such as on-site biometric screening and carotid artery screening offered at no charge to employees, retirees and spouses. Wellness challenges and “flash challenges” take place throughout each year aimed at drinking more water, counting steps, trying healthy recipes, to name but a few efforts. “Wellness corners” furnish printed information about health issues and blood pressure cuffs. Employees exchange summer produce and recipes.
Additional aspects of the BPU efforts are periodic “Lunch and Learns” with more than half of the workforce attending each session, addressing topics such as diabetes prevention, drug abuse, eye health and cancer prevention.
A former pop and candy fund now sells healthier snacks and frozen meal options. Employees are credited with “wellness” points for activities such as doctor wellness visits, vaccinations, dental and vision appointments. Employees also earn wellness points by volunteering in outside activities such as in Battle of the Businesses, the BPU Cents for St. Susan’s fund drive, LucyFest, volunteer fire departments, planning boards and coaching sports.
The BPU’s annual aggregate reports show an overall improvement in employee and spouse health from year to year and participation continues to increase.
BPU General Manager David L. Leathers commended the BPU Health & Wellness Team and said that the initiatives help employees understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, while helping to control increasing medical costs for employees and the utility.
“We take pride in our Wellness Program that has earned an employee participation rate of seventy percent,” noted Leathers. “The consequence of healthier employees and spouses is employees who are happier and more productive both at work and in their personal lives. Our Wellness Team encourages preventive and proactive health screenings, increased exercise and improved eating habits.”
Earlier this year, the BPU wellness program was named as one of Interactive Health’s 2018 Healthiest Companies in America.
Members of the BPU Health & Wellness Team include: Martha Abers, Tammy Anderson, Dan Currie, Jarrett Devereaux, Todd Hoaglund, Diondra Lopez-Chapman, Trenton Lutes, Cynthia McFadden, Kirk McDowell, Gloria Miranda, Jim Paterniti, Jake Prince and Becky Robbins. Human Resources Director Ross Snyder serves as a resource to the team.