Machines and technology have helped eliminate some stresses from our bodies in the workplace, but even a desk jockey may proclaim that their job is “back breaking” labor. In fact, the more sedentary the jobs become, the more strains and back pain employees seem to suffer.
The truth is, the human body was not designed to be static. Movement is a must. The health insurance industry is leading the way in wellness programs. What you might not know is that wellness also impacts worker safety. Studies have found an average of 28% reduction in sick leave, 30% reduction in claims costs, and 23% reduction in healthcare premiums throughout several industries. That translates into direct savings on your bottom line.
It’s important for companies to take advantage of these programs, not only to save in health care, but because it contributes to worker safety as well. A well oiled machine is less likely to break down and easier to fix; that’s just like the human body. A physically fit worker with good health habits is less likely to require a lengthy hospital stay or surgery if hurt on the job. This directly impacts claims costs and your work comp mod.
Perhaps your company doesn’t have a wellness program yet, but you know it’s a good idea. Here are some ideas to incorporate into your workplace to receive the wellness benefits to safety:
- Start a “Biggest Loser” campaign in the office. Keep competition friendly, fun, and focused on realistic goals.
- Remind employees to have an annual physical.
- Offer employees a pedometer to keep track of how many steps they take per day. To achieve maximum health benefits work towards 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles).
- Replace sugary, low quality foods with healthy options in your vending machines and lunch rooms.
- Institute a Stretch and Flex Program (Westfield customers: we can help you customize one for your industry).
- Have an ergonomics review of your workstations.
- Offer to help sponsor employees' efforts in charity walks and marathon runs.
- Encourage employees to share what works for them on the company’s intranet.
- Highlight worker success stories as employees reach their health goals.
- Work with a local gym to establish a company discount program if your employees become members.
There are many other ideas out there to try. Have fun developing your company’s wellness program and sell it to management by highlighting the impact to the bottom line.
Healthy workers generally reduce health care premium costs, are less likely to be injured, are more productive, and take fewer sick days.
How is your company encouraging wellness in the workplace?
Kirsten is a Risk Control Representative out of our Peoria, IL Service Office. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and Business from Bradley University in Peoria. Upon graduating, Kirsten entered an intensive insurance training program with a global carrier for 14 months and obtained experience in all insurance disciplines including claims, underwriting, and loss control. Kirsten has 5+ years experience providing loss control consultative services for a variety of industry exposures; specialties include hospitality, food and beverage manufacturing, religious institutions, and country clubs/golf courses.