By implementing workplace health initiatives, many companies are taking proactive measures to help with decreasing health issues affecting their employees. This is particularly important because of the following:
- The working population is aging, with the national average around 42 years old.
- There is a decreasing number of skilled workers, increasing the number of on-the-job injuries.
- Obesity rates are astronomical and continue to rise.
- There is a steady increase of inactivity among Americans.
- Medical care costs continue to rise.
- There is an increase in stress-related illnesses.
- Approximately 10 percent of Americans are living with major limitations from chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or thyroid disorders.
Most importantly for risk managers, non-work-related health issues directly increase the risk of work-related injuries.
Getting Employees Healthy
To assist your employees in getting healthy, staying healthy and consequently reduce their risk of a workplace injury or illness:
- Create an employee safety education committee devoted strictly to health problems that correlate with injuries.
- Teach employees how to properly investigate accidents and determine ways in which they could be prevented. This may include the following:
- Ergonomics evaluations
- Lift equipment evaluations
- Offer personal health profile screenings for employees to identify their risk factors. This should include screenings for cholesterol, bone density, glucose, body mass index and other essential tests.
- Provide personalized health coaching and self-help materials.
- Offer quarterly corporate challenges to promote weight loss and activity.
- Offer quarterly educational safety and health seminars.
- Consider implementing a cross-promotional safety and health program with your health care provider.
- Provide incentives to employees who fulfill health-related goals, or remain free from injuries for an established amount of time.
- Refer all employees who suffer a work-related injury to the wellness program coordinator for a consultation.
- Incorporate a safety presentation in your wellness seminars.
- Workers’ compensation managers and risk managers should provide health and wellness referrals to injured employees.
- Distribute monthly safety, health and nutrition tips to employees.