Five Ways Employers Can Prevent Chronic Diseases in the Workplace

Posted March 5, 2022 by in Career
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Reports regarding health statistics in the U.S. show some disturbing results. Some are temporary, while others may be severe or even, in some cases, fatal. For example, over 1.3 million people suffer from some new or lifelong disease caused by your working environment.

Take mesothelioma, for example. Mesothelioma is a terminal form of cancer caused due to prolonged exposure to asbestos (a mineral) used for thousands of U.S. products and construction before its dangers became known. 

When one inhales or digests asbestos fibers, they may embed themselves in the lungs, abdomen, or heart lining. 

Over time, these toxic fibers cause scarring. This irritation can eventually lead to the development of mesothelioma tumors. 

People at risk of developing mesothelioma cancer include those who’ve handled asbestos for a prolonged period or had exposure to vast amounts of occupational asbestos. 

Second-hand exposure is also possible, especially among the spouses and children of people who worked with asbestos. They include veterans, firefighters, auto mechanics, miners, construction workers, textile mill workers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and chimney sweeps.

In situations like these where the employer does not provide proper protection or is unaware of the danger of their workplace, it can cause the employee to sue and file for compensation. Later, reaching a mesothelioma settlement through legal means will resolve the issue. 

Many patients or people affected directly or indirectly receive mesothelioma settlements of $1 million or more. In general terms, a payment is a private agreement where one party provides compensation to remove accountability on their part.

Now that we understand how dire the situation can get let us look at the prevention techniques to avoid such circumstances or minimize them.

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  1. Prioritizing Physical Health

Taking care of your body is a definitive way of ensuring a longer and healthier life. But while most of us think of it, how many practically act on it?

Moreover, many people are afraid to take a leave from their job, thinking that their employers will not understand their situation. Here is where the change is needed.

First, it requires a shift in perspective for both the employer and the employee. Employers need to keep more lenient rules and regulations regarding health, allowing a considerable number of days for leave should the circumstances call for it. 

In turn, employees should clearly state their reasons and explain why they requested leave.

Furthermore, a regular assessment of the workplace ensures a safe and secure environment as employees spend the better part of their day there.

  1. Managing Workplace Risks

 A required method of avoiding and reducing the causes of chronic diseases is to monitor and maintain workplace risks. 

The conduction of regular monitoring of your workplace ensures no hazard of occupational injury or release of harmful or toxic substances in the surrounding environment. 

Why? Because either of those things could have a lasting impact on your health, both short-term and long-term. 

Several surveys were conducted that assess workplace health programs in the U.S. Results indicate that nearly 50% of the worksites have some health program. 

The standard targets of these programs are stress reduction, physical activity, and nutrition. The data from these surveys can aid in drawing up guidelines and solutions for employers and assist them in meeting health priorities.

Services like Alcumus Sypol’s Workplace Monitoring Services encompass many of the much-needed requirements such as LEV testing, air quality monitoring and control, hand-arm and whole-body vibration monitoring, noise control, etc. 

Approximately 13,000 deaths occur each year due to exposure to dangerous substances or the environment. Therefore, every action must be taken to reduce the risks. This should be necessary for every business and company that handles harmful substances.

  1. Discouraging Tobacco Smoking

It is a strong risk factor for chronic diseases and is the number one preventable cause of illness, disability, and death in the United States. 

Every year, $300 billion are lost in due or reduced productivity and medical expenses caused directly or indirectly by smoking.

Statistics given by the CDC Foundation show that the loss in productivity resulting from smoking-related diseases costs over $150 billion every year.

Tobacco smoking can be curbed in the workplace by implementing a policy prohibiting its use with a severe penalty in place within the perimeters of the workplace. 

Several recommended regulations can be put in place:

  • Establish smoke-free zones to prevent the occurrence of second-hand smoke. By installing appropriate signage at tactical points to ban the activity.
  • Provide educational materials on the risks and harmful side effects of smoking, both directly and indirectly. 
  • Utilize social media, newsletters, and direct mails to communicate the information.
  • ‍Provide detailed tobacco-cessation programs and appropriate support for workers who smoke to get them to quit.
  • ‍Encourage employers to provide appropriate incentives, such as discounted costs for treatment and programs or free access to therapeutic interventions.
  1. Food Wellness

Incorporating healthy nutrition into the wellness program cannot be overemphasized. Unhealthy dietary habits can most likely lead to every kind of chronic disease, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancers. 

On an alarming note, only 26% of American adults eat vegetables 2 to 3 times daily, considerably lower than the national recommendation on the said food’s consumption. 

Thus, food wellness is essential to chronic disease management and should prioritize when looking for solutions.

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle isn’t just directing people on what they should avoid, but also what they should eat. 

For example, a diet without consuming fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products may be linked to chronic diseases like breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol.

  1. Conducting Research to Identify Best Practices

Programs that concern research to learn what strategies will be the most effective way of improving the health and well-being of employees.

Maintaining a healthy working environment is essential for your workers to follow the health guidelines. Still, there is proof that it raises productivity and the effectiveness of a business or a company. 

So be sure to follow these tips to encourage a healthier lifestyle for your employees!