How Holiday Feasting Can Increase Workers’ Comp Claims

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 by Leaders' Choice Staff No Comments

How Holiday Feasting Can Increase Workers’ Comp ClaimsI don’t know about you but it felt like I gained 156 pounds last weekend. Who knew that eating an entire pumpkin pie in one sitting could lead to weight gain? Let’s face it, its food season.

Leftovers. Office Parties. Gift baskets full of cookies. I’m there. 

Still, moderation in all things is the way to go. Know your limits. The last thing you want is to end up on a sofa passed out in a food coma watching football on New Year’s Day while your wife scotch tapes an ad for a 24 Hour Fitness Center to your head.

So what does this have to do with Workers’ Compensation?

Plenty. Research shows that health care costs go up as our waistlines go out. Another thing that goes up — are Workers’ Compensation claims. That extra ten or twenty pounds that leads to an  employee tweaking his back and then not being able to rehabilitate because it’s hard to stick with your diet and exercise program when Aunt Mary whips up a batch of here Christmas Brownies each with its own individual candy cane on top.

The concern is rooted in a study of Duke University employees. Compared to other employees, workers in the highest obesity class filed twice as many workers’ comp claims and had 13 times as many lost work days due to a work injury or illness. In addition, medical costs and indemnity costs for the most obese workers were seven and 11 times as high respectively, compared to other workers.

In addition, the study found that employees with high BMIs were more likely to suffer injuries related to:

•             Back,

•             Wrists or arms,

•             Neck or shoulders,

•             Lower extremities (knees, feet and hips).

A more recent study conducted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance found that as obese injured workers continue to receive treatment, the medical costs of their claims develop at a significantly greater rate than those of people of weights considered healthy –

•             2.8 times at 12 months into the life of a claim,

•             4.5 times at 36 months and

•             5.3 times at 60 months.

So what can you do? Well, no one wants to go to an office party and eat carrot sticks but increasing awareness of wellness programs available through your employees existing medical provider, doing a team building exercise about…well exercise, creating a prize for using the stairs instead of the elevator, and switching out soda for water in the break room can add up to big savings for you and a happier pain free holiday for your staff.

So, before you take another bite of your Yuletide treats, let Leader’s Choice Insurance help you at least cut the fat off of your Workers’ Compensation policy rates. Just give us a call or click below for your free custom quote.