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Wellness Programs at Work
When companies make their budgets for health and safety, there are many costs to consider. Safety supplies and equipment, medical expenses, and traditional health benefits often appear to be the most essential financial needs for human resources departments and EHS professionals. Curiously enough, many employers overlook one of the simplest solutions of all - employee wellness programs.

Wellness refers to general strategies to make employees healthier. It offers a number of benefits, including reducing the cost of health insurance, lowering the severity of workplace injuries, and giving workers more energy and flexibility to do their jobs. In addition to personal protective equipment (PPE) and comprehensive medical coverage, wellness can go a long way toward making workers safer and healthier.

The level of effort that workers put into their jobs can also be greatly affected by wellness. The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC), Preventing Chronic Disease published a study of an Austin, Texas, company that saw benefits after starting a wellness program. Besides increases in general health and fitness, the program was responsible for significant reductions in expenses associated with employee healthcare and absenteeism. It can be difficult to add up the savings that a wellness program will provide, but the Vermont Department of Health estimates that a workforce in poor physical and mental health can indirectly cost a company two to three times what the direct medical costs would have been.

Wellness programs can be a good way for companies to provide additional compensation to their workers and can significantly reduce costs that are associated with medical insurance, absenteeism, and disability. Healthy work environments will also be much more productive and will promote a strong ethic of fitness and safety to all workers.
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