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Employers pay a high price for workplace injuries.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers’ compensation costs U.S. employers nearly $1 billion per week, including indirect expenses like lost productivity, human resources support, replacement employee training, and reputational damage.

Chronic Conditions Drive up Costs

What is one of the main drivers of those substantial workers’ comp costs? The answer is employee chronic health conditions. According to a study by Travelers Insurance, half of all U.S. workers have at least one chronic condition. Treating an injured worker with an underlying chronic condition costs employers twice as much as treating one without.

Yet employers often underestimate the influence employee wellness programs can have on injury rates and workers’ comp claims.

Well-Being Impacts On-the-Job Safety

An employee’s health and well-being directly affect their engagement, satisfaction, productivity, and presenteeism — all factors tied to on-the-job safety. Employees who feel chronically stressed, ill, exhausted, or dissatisfied often get distracted at work, raising their risk of accidents and injuries.

Targeted Programs Can Reduce Claims

Workplace wellness initiatives that give employees resources to better manage stress, mental health issues, and chronic conditions can positively influence two key factors related to workers’ comp claims:

  • Injury Frequency: Employees struggling with health problems tend to have more workplace accidents. Effective wellness interventions can improve both physical and mental health, leading to fewer on-the-job injuries.
  • Injury Recovery Times: Healthier employees with well-managed conditions tend to bounce back more quickly after accidents. Shorter recovery periods translate to lower wage replacement expenses.

Choose Programs That Meet Employees’ Needs

Employers must select wellness solutions tailored to their workforce’s specific health challenges to maximize results. Consider analyzing benefits utilization patterns and claims history data to identify the most prevalent issues, such as heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes.

Examining injury recovery metrics can also point to potential problem areas. For example, longer than average return-to-work timelines may indicate untreated or poorly controlled employee health conditions.

Surveying workers anonymously about their wellness priorities is another way to pinpoint offerings likely to have the greatest impact.

Effective Interventions

Once employers identify their population’s greatest health and wellness needs, they can zero in on addressing them through targeted programming. Relevant initiatives might include:

  • Stress management resources for those facing mental health struggles
  • Gym membership reimbursement for employees with chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes
  • Health coaching for those with poorly con­trolled hypertension and heart disease
  • Childcare stipends for overwhelmed work­ing parents
  • Financial guidance for those undergoing money-related distress

The key is choosing solutions built to tackle employee health deficiencies that are suscepti­ble to driving workplace injury risks.

Boost Participation for Maximum Payoff Simply offering wellness programming falls short, however. Companies must also en­sure workers actively use those resources to gain the lasting benefits of safer, healthier, and less accident-prone employees.

Consider incentives like gift cards, extra vacation time, and reduced insurance premi­ums to encourage employee participation. Con­sistency pays dividends. Promoting offerings through multiple channels — email, intranet postings, break room flyers, presentations — improves awareness.

And integrating sign-up reminders into routine communications reminds employees to take advantage of the available assistance.

For more Employee Benefits resources, contact INSURICA today.

Copyright © 2024 Smarts Publishing. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. 

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