According to insurance data, American employers pay an estimated $1 billion every week in workers’ compensation benefits for disabling, non-fatal injuries.

Employers, and insurance companies providing workers’ compensation insurance, don’t like paying out on claims for injured employees, and employees don’t like getting injured on the job! But new research shows that investing in employee wellness programs could actually drastically reduce the risk of employee injury in the workplace.

Wellness Programs Are a Win-win for Employers and Employees

Employers may already know that creating a wellness program for employees can improve employee satisfaction and reduce the risk of illness for employees (which means fewer employees needing to use up their sick days and improved efficiency because fewer employees are working while ill).

However, wellness programs can also reduce the risk for accidents in the workplace that cause both short- and long-term disabling injuries, including strains and sprains – the #1 category of on-the-job injury.

Three Health Conditions That Contribute to Workplace Injury

Some injuries don’t happen in isolated incidents, but instead happen gradually over time. These are called repetitive stress injuries, or “overuse” injuries, and can include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and even stress fractures.

One way that wellness programs can prevent occupational injury is by catching symptoms of physical strain earlier and treating them before they become a problem.

Another way is by helping treat other health conditions that could make it more likely for an employee to become injured. When wellness programs make it easier or more affordable for employees to treat these conditions, it can also prevent potential future injuries.

Examples include:

  • Obesity — Studies show that people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or higher have nearly double the risk of experiencing occupational injuries, especially musculoskeletal injuries (like injuries from overexertion or falls).

Wellness programs can make it easier for employees to manage their weight, and thus protect themselves from an increased risk of injury.

  • Smoking – Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your lungs, but you might not know it’s also bad for your bones. Smokers are more likely to experience fractures and broken bones than non-smokers, and their fractures also take longer to heal than those of non-smokers. For companies interested in introducing a wellness program, including a tobacco cessation plan is key.
  • Depression ­– Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and worldwide. However, it is extremely important to clarify that people suffering from symptoms of depression are more likely to experience accidental injury than those without depression (and it has nothing to do with any intent to harm oneself). Insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems are all symptoms of depression, and all can make it easier for workers to experience accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Wellness programs should always include a mental health aspect, which can help not only workers suffering from depression but also help workers suffering from stress or anxiety, both of which are also known to increase workers’ risk of accidents.

We Help Victims of Workplace Injuries Get the Benefits They’re Entitled to

Unlike normal personal injury claims, employees are still eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits even without needing to prove their employer was negligent. However, many valid workers’ compensation claims are still denied for reasons as simple as missed deadlines or incorrectly filed paperwork.

If you experienced an injury on the job or while completing work duties, you deserve compensation to cover your expenses until you’re back on your feet, and we want to make sure you get it. Contact our firm today to discuss your workers’ compensation claim with one of our experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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