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May 17th, 2021
If an employee receives an injury on the job–especially one that prevents them from working while recovering–it causes stress for them and their family, increases the workload on other employees, and costs you, the employer, money. To reduce injury rates in the workplace and save your company and yourself time, stress, and money, encourage your employer to consider implementing a wellness program.
Since wellness programs reduce employee injury rates and raise morale, it’s beneficial to have several on offer. If your employer offers these, take advantage of them to reduce your chance of a workplace injury and having to fight to receive the benefits you deserve through a workers’ compensation claim.
Wellness programs can take several forms, from adding an on-site gym for employees to creating a program to help people quit smoking. While the variations on wellness programs are endless, the main concern is to provide a space for employees to improve their physical or mental health.
Wellness programs can also offer incentives for employees to participate. Employers often provide a vacation day for completing the program or a monetary bonus.
The benefits depend on the wellness program offered, but overall, companies can expect to save money by investing in wellness programs. In research performed by OSHA, the governmental organization estimated that companies could reduce the number of injuries occurring during work hours by 15% by implementing wellness programs aimed at education. This reduction corresponds to $23 billion in savings for the employer.
Some wellness programs incentivize building up body strength, which could reduce the chance of injury from picking up a heavy box, for example. Others incentivize healthy eating or eliminating unhealthy behaviors than can make it more likely for a worker to suffer an injury or make an injury worse than it would have been otherwise.
Many jobs involve repeated motions, which can lead to repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) like tennis elbow. Regular stretching and exercise can reduce the likelihood of an employee developing one of these injuries. Having an on-site gym also gives employees the incentive to get in a workout during a break, which breaks up their time at the desk and helps prevent RSIs from forming.
Heavy smokers could take multiple smoke breaks throughout the day, reducing work efficiency and causing resentment with non-smoking employees who don’t take as many breaks. Additionally, smoking is dangerous to your health and can cause lung problems, heart problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and lower the immune system’s effectiveness. Smoking also affects bone health, meaning smokers are more likely to suffer a fracture or broken bones than non-smokers, and those injuries will also take longer to heal.
Helping employees quit smoking by offering incentives and educational programs reduces the number of breaks they need to take and reduces the likelihood of them suffering a serious injury, coming down with an illness, or developing a health problem like arthritis, which could also increase their chances of injury.
Another option for wellness programs is to offer an educational program. The specifics of these depend on the industry since companies can offer programs focusing on problem areas. For positions requiring heavy lifting, an employer could offer an education program helping employees understand how to lift boxes safely and when to ask for help. Companies, where employees spend hours at their desks, could provide educational programs instructing employees how to maintain a healthy posture.
Obesity is an enormous problem in the United States, with 40% of adults in the obese category in 2020. Obesity comes with many health issues, including diabetes, heart problems, and reduced mobility. People with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or higher also are nearly twice as likely to suffer workplace injuries, especially musculoskeletal injuries from trips and falls or overexertion.
Eating healthy foods to maintain a healthy weight can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Cooking from scratch takes time, and many people only know their family recipes, which may include lots of fats or carbs. Additionally, many lower-income people live in “food deserts,” which means there is nowhere to purchase fresh vegetables, forcing them to rely on pre-made foods.
By investing in a free or reduced healthy lunch program, employers can help their employees better their health, lose weight, and reduce the chances of weight-related diseases and injuries.
If your employer doesn’t offer a wellness program, recommend they start one. There’s no better time to start than May, which is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month.
If you received an injury at work and need help understanding the workers’ compensation process in Louisiana or have already received a denial and would like to appeal, contact the experienced Louisiana Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. At your free consultation, we can guide you through applying for workers’ compensation and arranging to speak with your employer or their insurer if necessary.
Don’t wait. Call us today to ensure you get your benefits as soon as possible, giving you the financial freedom to rest and recover from your injury.