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Case Studies

Please note that the Active Healthy Workplace Case Studies page is now archived as a reference and is not being kept up to date.


Fire and Rescue NSW - Waste the Waist initiative

‘Waste the Waist’ Program is a Fire and Rescue NSW initiative designed to improve the cardiovascular health of their Firefighters.

The program runs over 12 weeks and operates on-line. After registration participants can access the site via the intranet or log on externally. The program has been designed to educate participants on how to improve their choices to enable a healthier & fitter lifestyle. Participants can also elect to compete for prizes.

The website has regular updates and tips, and a weekly ‘Waste the Waist’ newsletter that is emailed to the participant’s. The letter contains healthy recipes, an exercise program and updates on overall total weight and waist loss of participants.

Participants are encouraged to log on regularly to achieve the best outcome. Results of the previous program show that the more often participants log to the website the greater the benefits. Eg Participants who entered data > 5 times/ week achieved an average waist measurement loss of 6.9 cms compared to 0.9 cms in participants who entered data < 2 times a week.

Weekly update text messages are also sent to mobile phones.

A Starter Pack is also provided which includes: Waste the Waist physical activity & nutrition guide booklet, pedometer and instruction sheet, recording sheets, tape measure and instruction sheet and favourite meals instruction sheet

Senior FireFighter Ryan Harris

What motivated you to take part in the program?...

Fitness levels were good to start with but there was room for improvement …. And I wanted to learn more about nutrition as I thought this was an area that I needed to know more about.

When did you do the program?....

I registered and completed the inaugural program that started early 2010.

What were the challenges?....

The first challenge was getting motivated to increase my exercise as I felt pretty fit to start with. Then to get out of the habit of buying takeaway. I needed to establish a new routine on how I bought food. I had to shop differently instead of buying for one meal I started to plan meals and bought for a few days at a time. Little things like buying in bulk and freezing bread made a big difference.

And the immediate benefits?......

Better knowledge and understanding of food and what I eat. For me exercise has to be daily to have an ongoing benefit.

Long term benefits? ......

The great thing about Waist the Waist is that it goes beyond work…I can log on to the website at home, log in details from the day i.e. pedometer levels this makes it easy to keep track of progress and improvement.

I’m a much better food shopper and I now read food labels! If I’m out and about and buy takeaway…its healthy. For me I realised it was the food portion size that I needed to look at not so much exercise although they go together!


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The Department of Education and Training - Schools

Workrave initiative

‘Workrave’ is beneficial in raising awareness of time spent at our computers in a constant static position.

Very few people realise the health implications of not stopping and stretching on a regular basis or to regularly shift the eyes from the monitor.


Stretching includes the neck and shoulders, arms, fingers, wrists and legs. It is not until we have been in a static position for some time and then get up from the chair do we realise how constrained our body muscles and circulation has been. Hence, the increased possibility of sustaining an injury. All preventable by incorporating micro-stops/ stretches into computer based work.


The micro-stops are frequent which may distract at times. They pop up anywhere on the computer; however, one can click skip. Which in itself is raising awareness of posture/ stretching requirements.

Workrave would be best in conjunction with other programs as one can become complacent seeing the same program on a daily basis. Download free at www.workrave.org This is not a DET site.

For more information contact: Kerry Stratford on 43489119


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Quit Smoking Initiative

The reason why you choose this activity:

WorkCover is committed to ensuring the occupational health and safety of all employees and workplace visitors, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles and practices. As part of our dedication to assist staff in their health and wellbeing, WorkCover NSW offers an incentive for quit smoking initiatives as part of our Non-Smoking Policy.

About the Smoking Cessation Initiative:

To encourage employees in developing a healthy lifestyle and to demonstrate WorkCover NSW’s commitment to those employees who wish to cease smoking, reimbursement up to a maximum overall amount of $200.00 is offered towards initiatives such as quit programs, hypnotherapy or nicotine replacement therapy during the course of their employment with WorkCover NSW.

Employees are required to discuss options with their general practitioner (GP) and obtain a certificate/statement stating they are undergoing the smoking cessation program under the care of their doctor. Reimbursement is made upon receipt of the statement from a medical practitioner and the receipt of the smoking cessation initiative. This ensures that the staff member is under the guidance of a qualified GP when undertaking healthy changes to their life style, to ensure their health and well being, and a better chance at success.

Any problems incurred and any positive outcomes achieved:

The only problems incurred so far with this incentive have been awareness of the incentive, and uptake.

WorkCover recognises that changes in lifestyle, and apprehension often associated with the cessation of smoking, creates difficulties in quitting for some employees, so we promote the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide support and assistance during this period.

To increase awareness of the incentives and the benefits of quitting, we have created Intranet Pages with links to where to find help and support in quitting, and the benefits of doing so. We are also planning an information session on quitting which will be recorded on video and available to all staff state wide on our Intranet, which increases accessibility to the information.

Personal stories from staff that have benefited from this incentive:

A staff member recently undertook therapy at Quit for Life Pty Ltd, which involves NLP, hypnotherapy and counselling, focusing on individual needs, destroying myths, and getting rid of bad smoking habits. Under the guidance and support of her GP, and through the Quit for Life therapy, the staff member has now completely given up smoking, and has already found health improvements noticing she has improved her lung capacity, and reduced the impacts of her asthma and has a feeling of general well being. The therapy's out of pocket cost to this employee was substantially reduced by utilising the incentive offered by WorkCover NSW, making the option affordable giving her long term positive results.

Contact details:
Katie Parsonson
Workforce Planning Team, Human Resources Branch
WorkCover NSW
92-100 Donnison St, Gosford NSW 2250
Locked Bag 2906, LISAROW NSW 2252
Ph: (02) 4321 5447
Fax: (02) 9287 5447
Click here to email

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Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Human Services, Hunter Region  -

Staff Wellness Committee

Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Human Services, Hunter Region established a staff Wellness Committee in October 2009.

The Wellness Committee provides information, education and a range of activities designed to promote all aspects of staff health and wellbeing. Members of the Committee are drawn from across the region and volunteer their time in the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices.

One of the initiatives offered to staff is the 10,000 steps challenge. The challenge is designed to promote physical activity and healthy competition amongst staff and is consistent with recommended guidelines for daily physical activity.

Teams of five participate in a four week challenge with each participant wearing a pedometer to record steps taken during the day. Steps are recorded at the end of each week by the team captain. All team’s recorded steps are tallied and the winning team is presented with the perpetual Steps To Wellness trophy.

Participating staff were surveyed and reported an enhanced team spirit within their work group, renewed enthusiasm for exercise, weight loss and an increased feeling of wellbeing.

The major challenge experienced administering this initiative has been communicating with staff in remote locations and those without computer access.

Contact: Rebecca McHugh for further details on 4978 6100


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