Small businesses are a good target for worksite wellness health interventions according to new research published in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from the Colorado School of Public Health. The research was part of a large prospective, longitudinal case-control study to determine whether worker productivity improves and workers’ compensation costs fall if health promotion programs are offered to small businesses.
Between 2010 and 2014, Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance, and the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Worker Health & Environment conducted a first of its kind study to determine if worksite wellness could improve the health and productivity of Colorado employees, as well as workers’ compensation outcomes.
As part of the four-year study, Pinnacol offered a free health risk management program and implementation assistance to its policyholders. Of the 260 small businesses that participated in the program, 6,507 employees, or 47.9 percent of eligible employees, took the health risk assessment. Survey results showed that one-third (34.3 percent) of participants were overweight and one quarter (25.6 percent) were obese. One-fifth, or 22 percent of workers, reported depression, and 20.4 percent of workers faced chronic fatigue.
The article, “Implementation of a Worksite Wellness Program Targeting Small Businesses: The Pinnacol Assurance Health Risk Management Study” is the first field-based study to look at implementing low-cost worksite wellness programs in a large number of small businesses.