12 Ideas for Workplace Wellness Programs to Reduce Workers Comp Costs

This may seem like a no-brainer, but healthier employees often leads to lower long-term workers compensation premiums.

By implementing workplace health initiatives, many companies are taking proactive measures to help with decreasing health issues affecting their employees.

This is particularly important because of the following trends impacting the American workforce: 

  • The working population is aging, with the national average around 42 years old.
  • There is a decreasing number of skilled workers, increasing the number of on-the-job injuries.
  • Obesity rates are astronomical and continue to rise.
  • There is a steady increase of inactivity among Americans.
  • Medical care costs continue to rise.
  • There is an increase in stress-related illnesses. 
  • Approximately 10% of Americans are living with major limitations from chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or thyroid disorders. 

Most importantly for risk managers, non-work-related health issues directly increase the risk of work-related injuries. More work-related injuries don’t just increase the cost of workers comp premiums (direct cost) but also reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of your organizational output (indirect cost).

READ NEXT: Workers Comp Experience Modification Rate: Everything You Need To Know

What is a Workplace Wellness Program?

A wellness program is a comprehensive health initiative designed to maintain or improve well-being through proper diet, exercise, stress management, and illness prevention.

Wellness programs can include smoking cessation, weight loss education, fitness challenges, therapy, and many other plans designed to increase the overall health of an individual.

In the past, wellness programs were offered by primary care physicians and insurance companies. However, there has been a growing trend for companies to develop workplace wellness programs for their employees.

Workplace wellness programs not only fight the upward trend of unhealthy employees, but also decrease medical care costs and insurance premiums. Employers can provide information in a variety of formats, such as wellness videos, pamphlets, health-related quizzes, and bulletin boards.

According to The American Institute for Preventative Medicine, 91% of today’s organizations have a health and wellness program, compared to 78% a decade ago. Workplace wellness programs may also include incentives to encourage employee participation.

12 Examples of Workplace Wellness Programs

To assist your employees in getting healthy, staying healthy and consequently reduce their risk of a workplace injury or illness, here are 12 ideas for workplace wellness programs you can implement in your business.

  1. Create an employee safety education committee devoted strictly to health problems that correlate with injuries.
  2. Teach employees how to properly investigate accidents and determine ways in which they could be prevented. This may include the following:
    • Ergonomics evaluations
    • Lift equipment evaluations
  3. Offer personal health profile screenings for employees to identify their risk factors. This should include screenings for cholesterol, bone density, glucose, body mass index, and other essential tests.
  4. Provide personalized health coaching and self-help materials.
  5. Offer quarterly corporate challenges to promote weight loss and activity.
  6. Offer quarterly educational safety and health seminars.
  7. Consider implementing a cross-promotional safety and health program with your health care provider.
  8. Provide incentives to employees who fulfill health-related goals, or remain free from injuries for an established amount of time.
  9. Refer all employees who suffer a work-related injury to the wellness program coordinator for a consultation.
  10. Incorporate a safety presentation in your wellness seminars.
  11. Workers’ compensation managers and risk managers should provide health and wellness referrals to injured employees (we can help with this one).
  12. Distribute monthly safety, health, and nutrition tips to employees.

These are just a few of the programs that our clients have implemented to help their employees live healthier lives.

READ NEXT: 7 Ways To Improve Your Return To Work Program

How to Establish and Design a Wellness Program

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there are 9 steps to establishing a workplace wellness program that will produce results long-term.

Step 1: Conduct Assessments

Obtaining information about the health of the workforce—and the organization’s willingness to make improvements based on this information—is a critical step in developing a workforce wellness program.

Step 2: Obtain Management Support

As with any initiative, management buy-in is critical for funding purposes, for obtaining support throughout the organization, and for approving policies and processes related to the program.

Step 3: Establish a Wellness Committee

After conducting a needs assessment and obtaining management support, an employer can create an internal, employee-driven committee that helps build and sustain a wellness culture in the organization.

Step 4: Develop Goals and Objectives

Wellness program goals and objectives are statements of broad, long-term accomplishments expected from the program. Each goal has one or more objectives to ensure that the goal will be successfully accomplished.

Step 5: Establish a Budget

Establishing a budget is a critical step in creating the wellness program. Without funding, the program will stall.

Step 6: Design Wellness Program Components

The wellness program may range from a very simple program to an elaborate multi-prong program. It is important to include a variety of components that target risk behaviors and the needs and interests of the employees.

Step 7: Select Wellness Program Incentives or Rewards

Incentives or rewards are an effective tool to change unhealthy behaviors, to adhere to healthy behaviors, to increase participation rates or to help individuals complete a program.

Step 8: Communicate the Wellness Plan

Communication is important to marketing the program and ensuring participation. It is helpful to use communication to create a social culture where being healthy is valued.

Step 9: Evaluate the Success of the Program

As with any investment or project, evaluating the effectiveness of the wellness program is important in sustaining management and employee support and in revising or implementing new programs.

The Rub

As stated at the top of this article, a healthy workplace is crucial to the long-term affordability and success of your workers’ compensation insurance.

Workplace wellness programs can play a key roll in keeping employees healthy and happy, which often in turn yields the higher output in terms of productivity.

This is not the way most insurance agencies will talk to you about workers comp.

Rogue Risk is different.

We can help.

If your current insurance professional has never addressed issues such as total cost of risk or return to work programs with you before, then I’d encourage you to reach out to us today.

I look forward to introducing you to a new way of viewing your insurance program.

Thank you,

Ryan Hanley

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