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Harvard experts recommend combining wellness, occupational health initiatives
06.12.2012Developing occupational health goals and implementing them as a part of an overall employee wellness plan can lead to major benefits for businesses, according to a group of experts from the Harvard School of Public Health.
The group recently developed a system that involves a combination of occupational medicine and personal wellness. The idea is to keep employees in top health whether they are on the jobsite or away from the office. The plan combines efforts to address the two main lifestyle areas that affect health.
The first step in the plan is to evaluate workplace and employee health and wellness risks. This involves both factors that are directly related to a worker's job, such as the safety of a worksite, as well as lifestyle issues, including unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.
Once health risks have been identified the plan recommends that businesses put in place practices that mitigate these risks. After programs have been in place for a while it is important to measure their effect, both in terms of employee health and wellness and in overall healthcare costs.
The program is significantly different from most standard wellness plans. These initiatives generally take into consideration lifestyle risk factors that could jeopardize health. Programs encourage exercise, healthy eating and smoking cessation. However, they rarely address a business's occupational health goals.
By initiating one program that improves the health of employees while they are on the job and away from the office, the new program could lead to major improvements in overall health and lower medical costs for businesses. This novel approach may help companies gain tighter control over perpetually rising healthcare costs.
Categories: Workplace Safety
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