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25 FIGURE 21 Employee wellness programs. · We sponsor two health fairs a year through a county-run and before taking any medications, including over-the- program. counter drugs. · We have an excellent health benefits group that con- · We do not have a specific employee wellness program, stantly provides trainings, meetings, etc. but we do have policy and procedures to address issues · A wellness program is provided for our employees; such as sleep patterns, use of over-the counter-medicines however, as the operators are employees of our contrac- and other issues. tors, we do not include them in these programs. The · The organization is in the process of developing a pro- contractors do individually provide employee assistance gram to promote healthier habits. It currently offers a programs. weekly yoga/meditation class. · We provide health clinics and invite organizations to · The Joint Healthcare Committee includes members of our facilities to provide information. We also have a human resources as well as union representatives who web page that provides information. put out a monthly newsletter with wellness tips and · Internal monthly safety meetings address employee information. The committee also informs employees health issues and substance abuse/Employee Assistance about their health benefits. Program training, as well. Additionally, the city human · We require substantial fitness for duty training and resources department publishes weekly/monthly "Well- assure all the operators that calling in when unfit is ness Newsletters." always preferable to coming in and "giving it the old · The human resources department puts together quar- college try." terly wellness fairs that address these topics using some of our contracted health care providers. · Our wellness program covers physical, nutritional, men- Summary tal, and personal wellness. Each business unit is equipped The following is a summary of some of the survey responses with a fully functional exercise and fitness room avail- by topical area. able to all employees 24 hours a day. We have wellness consultants at every business unit. We have weight loss support groups, and an Employee Assistance Program Organization and Safety for help with personal, financial, or emotional issues. We provide transit-safe over-the-counter medications to · While all the survey respondents indicated they had mis- our employees. sion statements, less than 59% of the mission statements · We have an Employee Assistance Program. included a reference to safety. · We have an on-site exercise room and Employee Assis- · The dissemination of the agency mission statement tance Program. within the agency varied widely. · The Employee Wellness Program is expanding to other · All survey respondents indicated their systems had issues. All operators are CDL-qualified with a passenger system safety plans. and air brake endorsement, as well as certified medically. · Lead responsibility for implementing and monitoring Operators are reminded to report or seek counseling from the safety plans varied by agency, with the large tran- our medical department if they have problems sleeping sit systems assigning the lead safety function to their
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26 safety, security, risk, and/or training departments. In · Respondents indicated that funding safety incentive and smaller transit agencies, the operations manager was reward programs was an ongoing challenge because of typically responsible for the agency safety program. budget cutbacks. · The majority of respondents indicated that their agencies · Two-thirds of the respondents indicated that bus opera- incorporated safety into all elements of new and existing tors were involved in the development of the agency bus operator training programs and meetings. safety incentive and reward programs. · Unionized employment in the agency safety programs · Only approximately one-third of the respondents stated varied; with 60% of the respondents indicating those they had data to measure the effectiveness of their dis- unions are included. ciplinary processes. · Almost all survey respondents stated they have hazard · Despite the lack of quantitative data, agencies that use identification programs. safety incentive and award programs believe they are · Agencies have systematic approaches to managing effective. customer-related safety complaints. · The respondents offered the following suggestions for possible changes in safety incentive and award programs. Organizations could: Organizational Policies Related to Safety Discipline Increase focus on positive behavior Increase management buy-in and support of the · All the agency respondents reported that their agency programs has some form of formal organizational policies related Provide adequate financial support for the programs. to safety discipline. · Progressive discipline is widely used in the transit indus- try and offers employees and management a process in Challenges and Opportunities which an employer utilizes a series of consequences, · Forty percent of the respondents believed that their increasing in severity over time, for an employee to agencies were experiencing a high turnover rate among modify any negative behavior, including misconduct, bus operators. poor performance, violations of company policy, absen- · Contributing factors cited for the high turnover rated teeism, and tardiness. included: · Survey respondents indicated that traditionally progres- Retirements sive discipline has been used to address safety-related Low pay performance deficiencies and to correct behaviors that Inadequate number of work hours have led to unsafe acts. Hours of work, especially during evenings and · Most respondents indicated that an employee could be weekends. terminated in situations where an accident was severe · Only 20% of the respondents reported that they experi- and/or resulted in a death owing to gross negligence. enced communication and training programs related to · Only one-third of the respondents stated they had the diversity of their workforce. data to measure the effectiveness of the disciplinary · Contributing factors cited for the high turnover rated processes. included: · The respondents offered the following suggestions for Cultural differences possible changes in discipline policies and practices. Language barriers Organizations should: Literacy competency. Administer the policies in a consistent manner · Seventy-six percent of the respondents stated their agen- Utilize committees cies had an employee wellness program. Recognize positive safety behaviors · The following were examples of wellness programs Provide continuous training and safety awareness. provided: Monthly or quarterly newsletters, meetings, and fairs Wellness committees Safety Incentives and Awards Employee Assistance Programs Provision of safe medicines (e.g., cold and sinus relief, · More than 85% of the survey respondents described some headaches, and upset stomach) type of operator safety reward and incentive program. On-site exercise facilities and/or subsidized mem- · The most common bus operator safety program rewarded bership to gyms safe driving with certificates, pins, and patches. Sleep awareness programs · Some respondents provided a variety of incentives, such Provision of health benefits that includes annual phys- as meals, annual safety banquets, and cash rewards. icals and similar proactive employee health focuses.