Chronic health conditions are on the rise among all age groups and continue to increase health care costs while decreasing productivity nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 25 percent of the U.S. population is considered obese, a number which could grow to as much as 40 percent by 2020 if current trends continue. Obesity is a contributing cause of serious chronic health conditions like diabetes, which cost employers an estimated 138 million days of productivity in 2012. Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S., is often caused or exacerbated by obesity as well.
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) suggests that employers can improve workers’ health while preventing work-related injuries and illnesses by creating a “culture of health” in the workplace; that is, putting wellness programs into effect while implementing appropriate workplace safety policies. Though smaller employers may not have the resources to implement overarching programs for employee wellness, basic strategies like having occasional blood pressure checks, cholesterol or glucose screenings, a walking program, or even simply posting signs reminding employees to wash their hands are steps in the right direction.
Regardless of employers’ resources, promoting a culture of safety and wellness can certainly boost morale and well-being while reducing the risk of work injuries and the accompanying negative financial impact (and, potentially, workers’ compensation claims). Visit our website to learn more about work-related injuries and workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.