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Workplace Health & Structural Shifts!

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This month we will focus on Structural Shifts and the Workplace. Occupational health and safety, keeping costs in check and maximizing employee productivity is one of the top priorities for business owners and management teams at all types of organizations, both large and small.

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“It is a well-known fact that the U.S. automobile industry spends more per car on health care than on steel.” – Lee Iacocca, retired chairman of Chrysler




Researchers have identified a significant business cost, that of unhealthy employees — the cost of lost productivity from absent workers (absenteeism) and present workers who can’t perform because of health-related impairments. What often gets overlooked is the equally significant cost to business of indirect costs or lost productivity due to illness. Looking at recent statistics for    the    cost    of    lost productivity due to common diseases, conditions, and risk factors is eye-opening.

Cardiovascular disease is Australia’s most costly disease group at $7.7bn a year, or 10.4% of direct healthcare expenditure including $4.5bn on hospital admissions and $1.65bn on pharmaceuticals; 1 (2016 )

Total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people in Australia with dementia was at least $4.9 billion in 2009-101 .  In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association  knows that much more  was lost because of caregiver absenteeism, lost productivity and need for worker replacement.

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In Australia Cancer costs more than $4.5 billion in direct health system costs (6.9%).

According to a 2009 study, workers with diabetes lost an average of 11 to 15 percent of work time due to health problems.

Depression accounts for huge losses in productivity and absenteeism.

Lost productivity due to asthma costs business billions annually.

In 2005, Medibank-commissioned research found that: • healthy employees are three times more productive than unhealthy employees; • unhealthy employees take nine times more sick leave than healthy employees.

In 2007, Medibank-commissioned research found that: • presenteeism costs $25.7 billion annually; • on average, six working days of productivity are lost per year per employee due to presenteeism.


NOTE: We have covered virtually all of the above conditions and their relationship to Structural Shifts - armed with that—can you see the potential impact we can have in the workplace?


For most employers, direct health care costs are well documented and well understood (as described above). However, many organizations currently don’t pay enough wass work4attention to the hidden costs of avoidable sick days and presenteeism — the cost of  employees who are on the job but not fully functioning because of real illnesses and medical conditions, including asthma, seasonal allergies, arthritis, migraines, depression, back pain, gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes. In fact, presenteeism now costs employers two to three times more than direct medical care, such as insurance premiums and pharmacy costs.

One research team calculated the total cost of presenteeism in the  United States to be greater than $150 billion per year. For employers, these common conditions represent fewer direct costs than high-expense diseases, such as  cancer and  heart  disease,  but  they represent  higher indirect costs, because they are so prevalent:

  • Depression costs U.S. employers more than $35 billion a year in reduced performance at work.
  • On-the-job pain  (including  back  pain,  headaches  and  arthritis)  costs employers nearly $47 billion a year in productivity loss.

“A standout finding here is that depression costs Australian employers approximately AUD$8 billion per annum as a result of sickness absence and presenteeism and AUD$693 million per annum of this is due to job strain and bullying.”

Work related stress represents a ‘huge cost’ for worker health and productivity and is broadly regarded as an important social determinant of global health. Scholars predict that by 2020, stress-related illnesses such as depression and cardiovascular disease will be the leading causes of the global disease burden. Psychological injury claims are steadily increasing and incur the largest proportion of expense in relation to compensation claims (Safe Work Australia, 2012).

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In fact, presenteeism now costs employers  two to three times more than direct medical care, such as insurance premiums and pharmacy costs. For employers, the hidden wass work 7costs of presenteeism present a frightening and motivating prospect. These costs also represent a substantial argument for a consumer-driven approach to health care that engages employees in better managing these lifestyle risks and common chronic conditions.


Accident, Injury and Safety Statistics


  • The total annual incremental cost of health care due to pain ranges from $560 billion to $635 billion (in 2011 dollars) in the United States, which combines the medical costs of pain care and the economic costs related to disability days and lost wages and productivity
  • Over half (52.7%) of the workforce surveyed reported having headache, back pain, arthritis, or other musculoskeletal pain in the past two weeks, and 12.7% of all workforce lost productive time in a two-week period due to pain.
  • Headache (5.4%) was the most common pain condition prompting lost productive time: followed by back pain (3.2%), arthritis pain (2%) and other musculoskeletal pain (2%).
  • Overall, workers lost an average of 4.6 hours per week of productive time due to a pain condition.
  • Other musculoskeletal pain (5.5 hours/week) and arthritis or back pain (5.2 hours/week) produced the largest amounts of lost productive time.
  • Headache produced, on average, 3.5 hours of lost productive time per week.
  • Lost productive time from common painful conditions was estimated to be $61.2 billion per year, while 76.6% of lost productive time was explained by reduced work performance, not absenteeism.

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Impact on Quality of Lifewass work 10

  • Almost   two-thirds   (59%)   reported   an   impact   on   their   overall enjoyment of life.
  • More   than   three   quarters   of   patients   (77%)   reported   feeling depressed.
  • 70% said they have trouble concentrating.
  • 74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.
  • 86% reported an inability to sleep well

Preventable health conditions makes up approximately 80% of the burden of all health conditions and 90% of all health care costs. Employers are beginning to realize they can take advantage of this statistic and work to provide services to decrease the occurrence of those preventable diseases.



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Employee prevention programs are considered a potential high return on investment for employers due to rising health care costs? In fact, research now suggests employers get an average of $3.48 back in reduced health care costs and $5.82 in lower absenteeism cost for every dollar spent on employee wellness. Employers who live more healthy lifestyles have reduced sick leave, improved work performance, decrease health insurance costs, increased productivity and reduced overall costs.

There are many real benefits to workplace wellness programs. There is increasing evidence to support implementation of programs in all types of companies and businesses, big or small. Decreased on-the-job productivity and employee absence because of health result in significant costs to employers above and beyond medical spending.1,2 Health-related work losses are estimated to cost US employers more than $260 billion each year, and may cost some companies more than direct medical expenditures.

Preventable illness makes up approximately 80% of the burden of illnesses and 90% of all health care costs. Employers are beginning to realize they can take advantage of this statistic and work to provide services to decrease the occurrence of those preventable diseases.

People spend more awake hours at work than anywhere else, on average 50 hours a week, so it’s up to employers to take aggressive action towards implementing workplace wellness programs. Corporate  health  programs play a  key role  in maintaining and improving employee relations and morale. Bottom line, a healthy, motivated workforce is vitally important to a company as a whole.


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Align Chiropractic Centre

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Queensland 4558

0477 226 878

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Align Chiropractic Centre is focused on structural correction of the spine. We use state of the art
technology and techniques to restore full function of the spine and nervous system to allow the innate
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