How Can Total Worker Health Help My Business or Workplace?

construction-worker“Today leading companies have learned that because of lost workdays and diminished employee productivity, poor health costs them more than health benefits do.”

Safe and healthy employees are less likely to be injured while on the job and are vibrant, engaged, and high performing.

Safer and Healthier Employees…

… Are good for business and help improve the bottom line. Companies that have exemplary safety, health, and environmental programs outperformed the S&P 500 by between 3% and 5%.

… Create a happier, less stressful, and more prosperous business environment. According to a survey by Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health, and the Futures Company, employees who reported having a strong culture of health at work were more likely to report being happy, less likely to report that stress has a negative impact on their work, and less likely to cite the work environment as an obstacle to health.

… Do better at their jobs and contribute more. Employers that have high employee engagement performed better than employers with low employee engagement in profitability, customer ratings, turnover, safety incidents, productivity, and quality. Engagement includes feeling like someone at work cares about the employee as a person and having the materials needed to do work right.

… Are absent from work less and more productive when at work. For every dollar spent on worksite wellness programs, absentee day costs were reduced by $2.73, and medical costs were reduced by $3.27.9 Research on chronic conditions and productivity estimates that presenteeism causes 18-91 lost work days per year and absenteeism causes 1-10 lost work days per year. Presenteeism costs more than absenteeism and medical expenses combined.

… Enjoy their jobs more, reducing turnover costs. Employees who feel supported by their employers are more likely to want to keep their jobs and will help attract and retain the best employees for the business. A study by the World Economic Forum found that 64% of employees who reported that their workplaces were active promoters of health intended to stay with their companies at least five years.

via CDC – Making the Business Case – NIOSH Total Worker Health.

Integrating Employee Health at NASA

nasaThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) employs a highly skilled workforce accustomed to working under high pressure, short deadlines, and limited budgets. A healthy, productive workforce is integral to the success of NASA’s technically challenging high-risk missions.

In 2003, the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer requested that the Institute of Medicine form a committee to review NASA’s occupational health programs, employees awareness of and attitudes toward those programs, and recommend specific options for future worksite preventive health programs focusing on, but not limited to:

  • nutrition, fitness, and psychological well-being,
  • incentives or methods to encourage employees to voluntarily enlist and sustain participation in worksite preventive health programs,
  • ways to create healthier workplace environments that are conducive to more active lifestyles,
  • supportive nutrition options to reduce risk factors for chronic disease,and
  • ways to evaluate the effectiveness of such programs.

via Integrating Employee Health: A Model Program for NASA – Institute of Medicine.

2013 – the year of disease prevention and health promotion!

health-promotion-industryThe New Year holds much promise for Total Worker Health™. In fact, 2013 may well become the year of disease prevention and health promotion! This abundance of opportunity can be credited to the Affordable Care Act and its provisions related to wellness programs.

The provision that focuses on employer wellness programs has the most potential to directly affect the Total Worker Health™ community. This proposed rule will expand the ability of employers to reward workers who achieve health improvement goals. Beginning in 2014, the health care law will allow employers to increase incentives for participation in programs that require an employee to achieve an agreed-upon wellness goal (health-contingent wellness programs). Specifically, employers will be able to increase incentives from the currently allowable 20% to as much as 30% of an employee’s insurance costs, and in some cases as much as 50%. Examples of health-contingent wellness programs include: programs that provide a reward to those who do not use, or decrease their use of, tobacco; programs that provide a reward to those who achieve a specified cholesterol level or weight. To protect employees from unfair practices, the proposed regulations will require health-contingent wellness programs to follow rules designed for employees who need wellness-related accommodations. Employers may continue to support “participatory wellness programs” which generally are available without regard to an individual’s health status. These include, for example, programs that reimburse for the cost of membership in a fitness center; that provide a reward to employees for attending a monthly, no-cost health education seminar; or that provides a reward to employees who complete a health risk assessment without requiring them to take further action.

via CDC – NIOSH – Total Worker Health™ in Action – January 2013.

What Is Total Worker Health?

Total Worker Health™ is a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being.

The protection, preservation, and improvement of the health and well-being of all people who work are goals shared by workers, their families, and employers. Today, more than ever, there is increasing evidence that the work environment and the overall health, safety and well-being of the workers within it are strongly connected. Diminished health and injury, whether caused by work or resulting from non-work activities, reduces quality of life, opportunity, and income for workers and those dependent upon them. Conversely, workplaces with low risk of injury and enhanced opportunities for the total health of workers can lead to a vibrant, engaged and highly performing workforce.

via CDC – Total Worker Health What Is Total Worker Health? – NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Program.