Employee Health Promotion No Headache for this Manufacturer

Friday, February 29th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

In a recent discussion about the importance of creating a workplace culture of health, David Sensibaugh, Eastman Chemical Company’s director of Integrated Health, described how his organization addressed the indirect impact of workers’ headaches and migraines on the safety of a manufacturing environment:

It is important to note that whenever we have accidents, like most manufacturing companies will tend to do on occasion, we review the cause, the results and the factors around the accident. We have found that in addition to unsafe behavior, health is a contributing factor to accidents on the job. Of the different types of health factors, a migraine is one of those.

We also participated in a health and productivity questionnaire survey that did much to help us understand the indirect cost of poor health within our population. A subset of that is the migraine element, which showed that about 28 percent of our employees suffered from migraines or headaches, and that the cost of that to our population is over $4 million annually.

That led us to participate in a headache education project. It was a joint effort between Eastman Integrated Health, HealthFitness and Johnson & Johnson Health Care. We had a company-wide marketing effort and employee information sessions, some which were held by an outside migraine expert from Vanderbilt Medical Center. The expert also held a physician dinner to help people in our community understand why this was an important issue and what we were trying to do with it here. Then we allowed people to voluntarily participate in this migraine study.

The study began with a pre-survey to help get an assessment of people’s headaches, their headache status, the severity of their headaches, their knowledge of headaches and headache treatment and so forth. Then we followed that up for period of about three months with educational materials provided by Johnson and Johnson. There was a small incentive to complete this study, a $25 gift card. After those three months of education and study there was a follow-up survey that was sent out, and then we had a headache severity survey that is currently being completed. Over 500 employees voluntarily participated in this study. The results of that will be forthcoming.

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