Demographic changes in today’s workplace are impacting the way risk managers handle lost Productivity, the cost of wage replacement, and skyrocketing workers comp premiums that are created by the health problems their employees face. Chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, back problems, respiratory disease, and diabetes are far more prevalent among workers aged 55 and above. These workers account for an ever-greater share of the labor force, than among younger employees.
Employers who promote healthy life style choices offer an effective way to reduce health related costs. Experts recommend taking these steps:
- Encourage workers to educate themselves about their health problems.
- Offer health risk appraisals to employees.
- Introduce disease management programs to promote healthy behavior.
- Make healthy food options available.
- Encourage exercise.
- Discourage unhealthy habits. For example, make the workplace tobacco free.
- If you have a fairly large workforce, provide on-site medical facilities.
- Use employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help with family and home issues that often emerge when managing long term chronic conditions.
- Create mobility throughout the day. Being sedentary or standing for long periods can create problems for employee with health conditions.
- Conduct periodic ergonomic assessments.
- Encourage breaks in concentration and focus by dividing tasks into shorter cognitive units.
- Establish a safety committee that recognizes and rewards valuable safety suggestions.
- Build in accountability for the workplace health and safety committee at the supervisory level.
Of course, these guidelines apply equally to all of your employees.
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