Obesity linked to more expensive workers’ comp claims

Data released earlier this month indicates that obesity is having an increasingly larger impact on workers’ compensation claims and workplace safety efforts.

Workers’ comp medical claims involving obese claimants open for one year can be up to three times as costly than those involving healthier employees, according to preliminary findings released by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).

Claims that remain open for five years can be five times as expensive and the extra treatments related to obesity involved in some “smaller claims” can exceed almost 30 times the cost of treating a non-obese individual, according to NCCI.

Studies have shown that along with obesity, the heath care costs associated with employees who smoke and with conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be significantly higher than healthy employees.

In addition to mounting health care costs, the cost of work-related injuries in the U.S. totals more than $50 billion a year. Though the costs are high, a growing number of business have been taking their chances with employee safety by cutting vital OSHA safety training out of the budget in the wake of the recession.

The combination of unhealthy employees and more businesses cutting safety training corners has the potential to add even more financial stress to organizations that are already feeling the pressure.

Employers can take a comprehensive approach to combating both rising health care costs and more expensive workers’ comp claims by promoting the importance of employee wellness and workplace safety.

Employer-sponsored wellness programs can help employees take that first step to improving their health. Find a gym to partner with that can give you a good deal on memberships for employees or bring health specialists in-house to train employees on the benefits of wellness.

As the economy continues to challenge businesses, more are searching for inexpensive safety training methods to save money and limit the number of workplace injuries that can lead to costly workers’ compensation claims.

G.Neil is meeting that challenge with new products that make employee safety training and OSHA compliance easier and affordable. With the right tools, it’s possible to keep workers safe and healthy without jeopardizing your budget.

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