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Burnsville employer helps employees in quitting smoking

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Rigid Hitch, a Burnsville manufacturer, connected with the Statewide Health Improvement Program when Betsy Kauffman, human resources manager, completed a Dakota County survey about potential ways to improve employee wellness and health. Tobacco was smoked or chewed by nearly half of the 40 employees and may have been a contributor to the company’s annual increases of 15 to 30 percent in health care claims.

A Dakota county staff person followed up with no-cost ideas and suggestions for improvement. “They let us know about the resources that were available and brought them to us,” Kauffman says. “As a smaller employer, I really appreciated their efforts because we don’t have the resources to go out searching for these solutions.”

Dakota County community health specialist Efren Maldonado suggested to Kauffman that Quitplan was not only a phone and web program to help tobacco users but would also send a representative to the company to counsel tobacco users in how to quit.

Eight employees chose to enroll in the program and Rigid Hitch arranged for them to meet for one-hour sessions for five weeks—on company time—with the Quitplan counselor. Along with Rigid Hitch’s investment in employee wellness, SHIP resources supported tobacco use screening, as well as incentives for employees who remained tobacco-free.

Because of this effort, tobacco-use among employees dropped by 20 percent, and Kauffman is pleased with the results.

Updated Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 11:22AM