Speaking before the National Health Wellness & Prevention Congress in Chicago as part of a panel on occupational health, Darren Hodgdon, CEO of Chicago-based Health IQ Diagnostics, proposed a shift in occupational-health priorities: from prevention of on-the-job accidents to reducing risky health behavior.
"It doesn't do much good to lead the world in workplace safety if we also lead the world in premature employee deaths due to risky behaviors such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse and untreated conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Every manufacturer has posters about proper lifting and eye contamination, but where are the posters about smoking cessation and weight control?" asked Hodgdon, whose company monitors behavior and identifies preventable risk factors.
Hodgdon notes that with 72 percent of all disease preventable and with 50 percent of the population at significant health risk, the ability to understand and control risk is critical.
"Reducing risky health behaviors is a win-win for everyone because it reduces health-insurance premiums, improves productivity and on-the-job performance (which helps reduce accidents), and helps employees feel better," adds Hodgdon.
"U.S. industry needs to lead the world in total employee health, not merely in an accident-free workplace," concludes Hodgdon.
August 1, 2005
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