40 Promoting healthy lifestyles in an open pit coal mine

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Open pit coal mines face different occupational risks, however little attention has been placed on the importance of promoting in the labour and social sphere of workers healthy lifestyles. In an open coal mine in Colombia and with the goal to prevent general and occupational diseases and overall to improve quality of life, was developed a participatory and integrated program focused in promoting healthy lifestyles.


A company team spent nearly six months in the first half of 2013 in developing the program. The team comprised members of the Occupational Health Committee, leaders from the trade union and representatives from various operational and administrative areas. The final outcome of this preparatory work was the model guiding this program, which has three main central and transverse pillars: physical activity, healthy nutrition, and related education. Physical activity is the model’s most important bulwark.


The program was finally implemented in 2015 in all the settlements of region where the workers reside reaching an adherent level of 1818 people, demonstrating its widespread acceptance amongst employees and their families. In 2017 there are more than 3000 participants and at the end of 2016, despite the short period since implementation, overweight and obesity levels had fallen by 3.75% and triglyceride levels had dropped by 6.9% (cholesterol was unchanged). Program adherence has remained steady at 70% since the start of the pilot test as well as throughout the year and a half of the program itself.


Considering that other similar initiatives reach maximums of 45%–50%, this program’s adherence is quite successful. Throughout 2015 and 2016, there were more than 100,200 hours of activities with 91 710 participant attendances. The program has strengthened ties amongst the participants and communities involved, which has been reflected in interactions on social networks showing various activities held at different locations.

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