Dow shortlisted for the CIA’s Health Leadership Award

This year, Dow was shortlisted for the 2019 UK Chemical Industry Awards in the Health Leadership category, which recognises excellence in health leadership demonstrated by improved or optimum sustained health programme performance and a healthy workforce and workplace. Alison Waddington, Industrial Hygiene Manager for the Industrial Hygiene Expertise Centre, and component leader for the 2025 Sustainability goal, Total Worker Health, developed Dow’s shortlisted entry.

Dow’s entry showcased a range of various initiatives put in place in the past year across sites in the UK & Ireland, all of which work to drive an understanding of health and wellbeing holistically across both our personal lives and our work. These included the Total Worker Health™ programme, injury and illness risk reduction efforts, various site-specific wellbeing initiatives, and development of Dow’s new Global Wellbeing Strategy.

Total Worker Health is the Dow strategy that brings together health and safety at work with overall health promotion by fostering a health culture within our Dow population, both on and off the job, and minimising high priority health risks through providing a healthier and safer workplace environment. These elements are key in the prevention of injuries and illness, chronic and acute.

In the UKI region Barry, Birch Vale and Dewsbury have been leading the way in developing and running Healthy Culture Improvement initiatives under the banner: “You Make the Difference”.

These initiatives have included the provision of improved infrastructure, facilities and services to facilitate a healthy culture in addition to the extensive participation of over 550 employees in ERG Chapters and Mental Health and Stress Awareness Forums. Sites have also hosted everything from a “Curry-and-Chaat” event for Mental Health Awareness Week to team building days for apprentices, and paddle boarding, yoga and outdoor classes. The regional team has also supported with vaccination, blood donation and diabetes awareness including advocating lighter changes in lifestyle such as healthier lunch options and encouraging everyone to take the stairs instead of the elevators.

The UKI has also actively explored innovative exposure control and health improvement wearable technologies. A project led by Cathy White of Dow’s Global EHS Operations tech centre explored the benefits of the robotic exoskeleton technology, which has now become one of Dow’s pioneering health and safety initiatives. The goal of exoskeletons is to ease muscle fatigue and strain when completing physically demanding tasks, but also to prevent injuries. A pilot at Barry of exoskeleton suits was such as a success that the site has purchased five “Suit X” suits for use in 2019.

Finally, the award entry also outlined the forthcoming Global Wellbeing Strategy that Dow is developing, which is built around the vision that 100% of Dow employees can be their best selves at work, home and play.

All together, these initiatives were key to creating a shortlisted award entry, highlighting the breadth and depth of Dow’s commitment to wellbeing and health leadership. At the award ceremony last night at St George’s Hall in Liverpool, the judges ultimately awarded the prize to Livent based on several criteria, including senior management commitment, employee engagement, and evidence of a culture of proactive health risk management and wellbeing support initiatives that align with sustainable development goals and metrics. However, they did call out the initiatives that landed Dow on the shortlist.

John Case, Country Leader for UK & Ireland, said, “I’m delighted that the various initiatives that we’ve been putting in place in the last year have been recognised in our shortlisted entry. While it is disappointing that we did not take home the trophy this year, being shortlisted is still an enormous validation of all the work we have been doing over the past year. At Dow we really believe in the importance of wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and want to ensure every employee has the opportunity to benefit from these initiatives, and knows that they can bring new ideas, whether it’s a seminar or paddle boarding, to the leadership team for discussion.”

In the latest health and wellbeing initiative, several Dow UK & Ireland employees have signed up to Team GB’s 4-week app-based partner challenge to improve their overall healthy habits through a gamified experience that includes exclusive content from Olympian athletes and nutrition, health, and wellbeing experts.