February 3, 2012
For years it didn’t seem important for companies to address occupational health. For the last 40 years it has become more apparent that these issues are of great importance to the overall success of a business. I will be discussing the importance of employee health in a company, the types of programs often provided, and the federal regulations that pertain to health in the workplace. I will also address current issues in employee health services, employee assistance programs, drug testing, and health care trends.
With a constant focus on the declining state of the economy, businesses are searching for additional methods to increase productivity and lessen ongoing costs. A big source of ongoing costs is in direct correlation with employee health. In the early 2000’s, the health of employees was a major concern for many companies due to the increasing costs of occupational and non-occupational health care. In 2004, total spending on health expenditures was $1.9 trillion, or $6,280 per person in the United States. Health care expenditures are projected to reach $4 trillion in 2015 (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/). Such escalating costs reduce companies’ profits and inflate the prices of goods and services. Government regulations have also influenced health in the workplace. Since the early 1970’s, federal regulations have required companies to maintain accurate records of work-related illnesses and injuries, institute medical surveillance programs, provide safety equipment, and control the use of hazardous chemicals. More recently, as a means of reducing risks for employees, many companies have introduced worksite health promotion programs. These programs have led to reduced absenteeism, increased employee retention, reduced health care costs, and increased employee satisfaction. Some of the more popular topics are smoking cessation programs, on site Weight Watchers...