AWC Blog

Create a Wellness Program to Reduce Workers Comp Costs

employee wellness program

Healthier employees are happier and more productive, have higher morale, and experience fewer accidents on the job than those who are unhealthy. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by happy, healthy employees?

Businesses who create employee wellness programs can experience all of the benefits that healthier employees offer.

What is an Employee Wellness Program?

Employee Wellness Programs (EWPs) are clearly defined and organized policies and activities put together by employers to promote better health and well-being for your employees. The goal is to give employees information about their health they may not have and enable them to make good choices to increase their own health and safety.

The best kind of EWP equips both the employee and the employer with good information on employee’s individual lifestyle risks. This is done as a three-step process.

  • Health Risk Assessments are questionnaires given to employees to determine their individual health risks.
  • Biometric testing is done to check blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and BMI. This helps identify employees with diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
  • Behavior modifications offered based on identified health risks: health coaching, weight management, nutrition and diet information, fitness, and smoking cessation.

Once the tests are done and assessments are complete, you’ll be able to see who of your employees are high, medium, or low risk and can begin to find ways to encourage EWP participation.

Unhealthy Employees Cost More

You cannot discriminate against employees with poor health, but you can encourage participation in your employee wellness program to help them become healthier. The differences between an unhealthy employee and a healthy one are staggering.

Employees at a high risk for depression cost 70% more than low risk employees while those at high risk of stress cost 46% more. These employees have lower response times, loss of focus at work, tight and tense muscles which can be more easily injured, and may exhibit risky behavior. All of which is a costly accident waiting to happen.

Obesity is a common issue, with as much as 35% of the workforce considered obese. These employees rack up seven times the medical costs, have a recovery time 13 times longer than the non-obese employee, and 11 times the indemnity costs. In concrete numbers, the average obese employee’s workers comp costs are $51,000, while the non-obese costs are $7,500.

Employee Wellness Programs Reduce Workers’ compensation Costs

Obesity, smoking, poor fitness and nutrition, and depression and stress are common among unhealthy employees. These health issues result in more accidents and injuries while at work. Healthier employees, especially those participating in an EWP, have fewer accidents, shorter recovery periods, and lower workers’ compensation claims.

Through multiple studies, the benefits of EWPs have become clear with a 32 percent reduction in workers’ compensation costs. This includes fewer out-of-work days and accidents.

Sometimes people don’t know they’re unhealthy. More often, they know they are but don’t know what to do about it. An effective employee wellness program can help them identify the problems and get their health back. This isn’t just about reducing workers’ compensation costs, this is about improving the lives of people who work hard for your business every day.

Happy, healthy employees are a smart business investment.

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