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Mill Credits Fewer Accidents to On-Site Nursing


Timber Mill Credits Fewer Accidents and illness to On-Site Nursing

Timber mill Juken New Zealand Limited (JNL) credits its on-site primary nursing service with helping reduce its accident rate, and improving the health of staff

As winter approaches JNL Assistant Mill Manager Brendan Smith is also hoping the clinics may help reduce staff absenteeism due to winter ills and chills.

“Many of our staff that had endured chronic health issues for years have been encouraged by the TINT team to seek medical help and nearly all are now enrolled with a Primary Health Organisation. We expect many this year will take advantage of the influenza vaccinations available from their PHO or TINT.”

Recent JNL figures indicate a dramatic reduction in injuries onsite. For the past 12 months there has been a 250% reduction in serious accidents compared with the 2003 –2004 period. Minor injuries have also greatly reduced, Mr Smith said.

“We believe this is part due to improved health and well being of our staff. In the past 12 months we have only had one staff member have to resign due to non-work health issues. Without positive intervention I am sure we would have had many more end up on sickness benefits due to various issues.”

Mr Smith said of all the JNL employees on site, 35% have more than five years service and 32 have had more than 10 years.

“Many of these core staff are approaching middle age and that’s certainly where the need for preventative health care needs to be focussed.”

TINT or the Tairawhiti Innovative Nursing Team has held on-site primary nurse clinics at JNL for 12 months.

In that time 310 staff have been through the clinic and as a result many have made lifestyle changes to improve their own and their family or whanau’s health says TINT Project Manager and nurse Diane Williams.

“Even the smallest lifestyle change can add quality years of life to a person. For example, we have had three JNL staff stay smokefree for six months and another 34 have been referred to a smoking cessation programme. The single most effective way to reduce ill health in this community is for people to stop smoking so obviously individuals and organizations alike have much to gain from a healthy smokefree lifestyle.”

Mr Smith said JNL has always undertaken health monitoring of its staff to ensure they are not affected by hazards in the workplace such as noise, dust and manual handling.

“At JNL we understand the benefits of ensuring staff are at their best while at work. While JNL has gone to extraordinary lengths to guard, distant fence and interlock its machinery to keep people safe, there are parts of the operation where we have to rely on staff to undertake tasks safely in the manner they have been trained. Clearly, if staff have health or personal issues then their full attention may not be on the task at hand. This can result in an increased risk of injury.”

Mr Smith said having nursing services on-site meant staff can receive comprehensive health services and follow-up.

Other positive things to come out of the JNL TINT relationship include the introduction of more healthy food options in the on-site café, raised awareness of the Meningococcal B vaccination for people aged six months to 19 years, and weight loss by some staffers.

“If we are successful in improving the health and wellbeing of our staff with the help the TINT programme now, maybe the demand for health care is reduced when people near retirement,” Mr Smith said.

ENDS

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