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September 18, 2013
Is there a link between safety and health and business success?

Yes, there is, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Keep reading to learn more.

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The study, The Link Between Workforce Health and Safety and the Health of the Bottom Line, was conducted by HealthNEXT, a developer of employee health programs. It was described as the first study of its kind to objectively measure the relationship between workforce health and safety and an employer’s performance in the marketplace.

Researchers looked at companies that have been recognized for safety and health excellence by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s (ACOEM) Corporate Health Achievement Award. These businesses were more profitable than the S&P 500 for a 15-year period from 1997 to 2012, and for a 13-year period from 1999 to 2012. In various scenarios tested, the award-winning companies outperformed the S&P 500, with excess annual returns ranging from 3.03 percent to 5.27 percent.

Stated lead author Dr. Raymond Fabius, “This research delivers a much-needed dose of quantitative proof to support the notion that a healthy workforce is a competitive advantage in the marketplace.” He said it comes at a time when many corporations are looking for ways to cut healthcare expenses, or even dropping coverage. “Our results suggest that [the] real path to savings is not dropping health benefits, but rather improving them. Quite simply, we’ve proven that a corporate focus on health and safety is good business.”

Take a closer look at one award-winning program

The researchers studied U.S.-based multinational corporations including American Express, Dow Chemical, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), among others.

Johnson & Johnson’s health and wellness program seeks to optimize the well-being of its 120,000 employees worldwide and to sustain a “global culture of health.” Prevention and wellness are pillars of the program. According to J&J, “Giving people the tools to stay healthy is as important as healing them when they are sick.”

The multifaceted program targets risk factors for chronic disease including an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking.

Health and wellness program elements include:

  • Health assessment and counseling to help employees understand and reduce their risks;
  • Opportunities to be physically active, such as on-site fitness centers, exercise classes, personal training, and health coaching; and
  • Prevention-oriented screenings covered at 100 percent.

J&J leaders say the approach has helped improve health and reduce costs, both for the Johnson & Johnson companies and for employees.

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