Corporate health gets competitive

ALTHOUGH comparatively new in WA, the corporate health industry appears destined to become one of the State’s most competitive service industries.

While some companies target specific business clients with tailored services, others find other streams, such as occupational therapy services, or health and wellbeing offerings for the general community, often will also attract corporate clientele.

“The competition is growing, with many seeing this area as a great money earner,” Penny Lane Resources managing director Natalie Hall said.

“But a lot don’t last very long, particularly if they don’t provide the big picture.

“Businesses always go for the extras offered by an all-rounder.

“And experience and continual improvement is also important.”

Prime Health’s Julie Carr said corporate health and wellbeing clients often started with the organisation via occupational health services.

But late last year Prime Health decided to expand its corporate health offering after estimating the number of companies introducing general health screenings or workplace health strategies and promotions had doubled in recent years.

Corporate health education was also growing in demand, with a lot of interest in back care and injury prevention, stress management, weight loss and diet and nutrition.

Some companies had begun competing with others on health and wellbeing benefits offered to employees, Ms Carr said.

This was noticeable among mining companies, who were keen to know what the other companies were offering.

Hundreds in the mining industry were working fly-in-fly-out shifts, Ms Carr said, and the industry as a whole was beginning to see the benefits of corporate health programs.

Mining companies were also realising that pre-employment checks were insufficient for securing and maintaining a fit and healthy workforce.

As employees get older they also sustain injuries.

And for those working a long way from home, the impact of these injuries was often exacerbated.

Prime Health was now providing fly-in-fly-out rostered staff to mine sites, to supervise gyms, conduct screenings, and monitor and manage health programs.

Corporate health was no longer targeted mainly to the regular white-collar community, Ms Carr said, and while Prime Health had always done executive health screenings, it was now offering a wide range of on-site health screenings, tailored to company budgets.

Increasing demand for suitable services was coming from the healthcare, consulting, mining, engineering, manufacturing and oil and gas sectors.

Services for manufacturing businesses were particularly unique, with large workforces, high turnover, and a high proportion of lower level employee positions, Ms Carr said.

Ms Hall said services to the mining industry were growing because of the unique lifestyle of workers on mine sites.

“They spend the majority of their life there, plus it is their workplace,” she said.

“These services are not just a warm and fuzzy thing – they have become a need.”

Penny Lane Resources’ biggest business is in mining.

The company has 10 staff throughout WA and the Northern Territory working full-time on onsite health and lifestyle programs that incorporate gym management, health promotion, injury management and risk management.

Clients include Newmont and Rio Tinto, with Newmont retaining the company’s services during the planned shutdown of Bronze-wing.

Much of Penny Lane Resources’ work involves onsite monitoring and advice on fatigue, body stress, attitude and belief systems.

To cover individual needs, Penny Lane Resources provides sites with a network of physiologists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, doctors and naturopaths, and runs commando-style training courses.

Fitness centres are also realising the need to offer a monitored needs-based service.

Most gyms and pools in Perth’s CBD are for the exclusive use of organisations or company tenants, but a few independent centres – offering individual and corporate memberships to all-comers – appear to be thriving on business from city workers.

These centres are continually monitoring client needs, and as many are workers wanting to grab some exercise while in the city, programs and times are generally geared to suit.

One of these, Active 8, offers fast 40-minute workout sessions, so clients can gain maximum benefit in a short time.

“In the city, people want to get it done and get back to the office,” Active 8’s Maria Osborne said.

“Time efficiency is the key.”

Most circuit classes are scheduled before before 8am, between 11.30 and 2pm, and from 5pm until 7pm.

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