Good nutrition is the foundation for healthy and safe workers. Work stress, fatigue and having easy access to high fat and high sugar foods at camp can lead to poor eating habits. Long shifts operating machinery means a day spent mostly sedentary which is linked to poor health outcomes.
Eating well can have both immediate and long term health effects. In the short term, a healthy diet can improve your energy levels, concentration, digestion and sleep quality. In the longer term, having an active lifestyle and eating well can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reduce your riskof chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Chronic disease risk factors are the silent OHS threats on the worksite.
How can employers support good nutrition in the mines
Early intervention and health promotion initiatives are vital. A worksite that shows a genuine interest in its employee’s wellbeing will develop their trust, commitment and boost morale. Investing in workplace wellbeing has been shown to reap high returns for companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism and decreased incidence of injuries.
There are many opportunities for employers to promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits in the mining industry:
- Prioritise nutrition education for staff in ways that are engaging and relevant.
- Involve employees in the decision making process when developing a health program. High attendance rates can be achieved if employees have their interests heard.
- Would they prefer private consultations with a Dietitian or group sessions?
- What times work well for them?
- What are their major concerns relating to diet?
- Review the foodservice.
- Are changes to the food supplied required to support healthy eating?
- Is feedback from workers regularly obtained?
- Review current nutrition promotion material onsite.
- Are there any resources?
- When were they last updated?
- Where are they positioned – in high traffic areas like the lunch room or canteen?
- Bring health care to the worksite. Offering staff opportunities to visit health professionals at times of the day that are convenient for them can be very beneficial. Men are less likely to independently seek out healthcare which means that convenient access to Dietitians and other health professionals may have a higher uptake.
How NAQ Nutrition can be involved:
- Onsite group education around common nutrition issues like eating for shift work and managing fatigue.
- Individual diet consultations for employees allowing them to discuss their own diet and health questions in a friendly and confidential environment.
- Review camp foodservice menu to identify opportunities for change to support healthy eating.