Ohio honors Bendix’s healthy workplace

Updated Feb 20, 2013

Recognizing its ongoing commitment to employee health and wellness, the Ohio Department of Health has honored the Elyria headquarters of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems with a Healthy Ohio Healthy Worksite Award. Bendix is one of just 35 Ohio businesses that received the award during the 2013 Health Action Council Annual Conference on January 29. This is the sixth Healthy Worksite Award for Bendix, which was named a bronze award winner in the Large Employers category.

“Bendix is honored to receive this recognition. We feel it reflects not only our organization’s focus on promoting a culture of health, but also on the enthusiasm with which our employees and their families have embraced new opportunities to improve their health and well-being,” said Diane Shields, Bendix vice president of human resources. “We continue to build our commitment to health and wellness, and we constantly strive to make it better for everyone.”

The Bendix 2012 wellness efforts in Elyria included hiring a registered dietitian, developing a robust slate of wellness education programs for employees and family members delivered monthly, launching the Bendix Be Healthy Facebook Page, and opening a new cafeteria with a menu focused on serving healthy meals.

Those efforts are part of the Bendix Employee Wellness Program. More than 80 percent of Bendix’s Elyria employees participate in some aspect of the program, which began in the late 1990s, when the company researched ways to create a healthier working environment that would lower absenteeism, while making employees more productive and healthy both in and out of the workplace. The Bendix Employee Wellness Program consists of five categories: weight management, physical activity, tobacco cessation, life management, plus prevention and early detection.

In 2012, 76 percent of the 527 Bendix Elyria employees participated in individual health coaching sessions with the new dietitian, who meets with employees twice a year. Eighty-two percent of employees participated in blood screenings, 78 percent received health risk assessments, and 73 percent took part in the new wellness education programs.

“Most of our education programs are nutrition-based,” Shields said. “They cover topics ranging from consumption of energy drinks to guidelines for packing lunches and eating healthy while on the road. Hundreds of our employees took these classes. Education about good eating habits and access to healthy foods is a major part of our efforts.”

The Bistro at Bendix, the new cafeteria menu, features made-to-order healthy dishes using whole grain breads, pasta, and dough, along with low-sodium cheeses, soups, and a salad bar.

Year over year, the number of Bendix employees with unfavorable health indicators, such as high levels of bad cholesterol, has decreased.

Bendix did not pass along any health insurance cost increases to its employees for 2013 because of its healthier workforce. In addition, its healthcare cost per employee has been dropping.
The Bendix Employee Wellness Program makes yearly physicals and blood screenings available to employees and family members free of charge. In addition, employees are given an annual personal health assessment – along with free access to resources and counselors through their insurance carrier – to help each individual develop a personal health plan. An on-site fitness center, the Bendix Family Connection website, and an indoor employee walking path are just a few of the many ways Bendix is working to place a special focus on nutrition, weight management, and physical activity. Bendix also offers employees tobacco cessation programs free of charge, as well as discounts on insurance for tobacco-free employees and dependents.

“Every day, we see evidence that the Bendix Employee Wellness Program is having a positive, sustained impact on our workplace,” said Shields. “Employees are benefiting from early detection and treatment of conditions due to preventive care. To help their team get in a light workout while on the job, some managers have even organized meetings in our cardio room, where employees sit on exercise balls. Whether at the office, on the road, or in their homes, people are practicing prevention and healthy living habits.”