Workplace Wellness improves Workplace Safety

Document created by 1050870 on Jan 30, 2015
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You can find a link to the report that came out yesterday from safety.blr.com here...

 

Research finds wellness programs improve safety.

 

 

 

Wellness programs keep employees engaged, improve morale, and help reduce risk factors for disease. Keep reading to learn about other surprising benefits.

 

 

If you’ve been wondering about the value of implementing a worksite wellness program at your small business, new recent research may influence your decision. An article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine described a large study conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health.

 

 

The goal was to see if productivity improves and workers’ compensation costs fall if health promotion programs are offered to small firms. In other words, do wellness programs improve safety?

 

 

Between 2010 and 2014, Pinnacol Assurance offered the small businesses they insure a free health risk management program and assistance with program implementation. The initiative started with an online questionnaire to assess participating workers’ health risks. Based on their responses, the employees received feedback in the form of a letter with suggestions for health improvement. The employees could choose to talk to a health coach on the phone or use online resources to make recommended changes.

 

 

The 260 small businesses that participated in the program represented 6,507 employees. Nearly half of those eligible took the health risk assessment. Results showed that a third of participants were overweight, and a quarter was obese. A fifth reported depression, and about the same number were dealing with chronic fatigue.

 

 

Pinnacol vice president Karyn Gonzales said study data indicate that wellness programs have the potential to improve the health of participants. The findings also link health risk factors to the frequency and cost of workplace injuries and showed a medical and productivity savings of $2.03 for every dollar invested in worksite wellness.

 

 

Nearly 80 percent of large employers offer wellness programs, but less than a third of small companies are involved, according to Pinnacol. The research suggests wellness may be a strategic investment to improve health and safety.

 

 

Could a wellness program be right for your business?

 

 

Getting a good program off the ground requires time and resources. Plus solid research to figure out what you hope to accomplish and what your employees need and want. The following steps represent the basic building blocks:

•Build support for a program at all levels of the organization.

•Make the business case for a culture of wellness with leaders.

•Assess the needs and develop a plan with input from employees, including a dedicated wellness committee.

•Market and communicate the program.

•Implement the plan with activities and initiatives specifically tailored to your workplace and employees.

•Evaluate your efforts and share successes.

•Stay relevant by tweaking and adjusting the program according to feedback and results.

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