Chronic Conditions Workplace Safety And Job Demands Contribute To Absenteeism And Job Performance
Author: Kimberly Jinnett, Natalie Schwatka, Liliana Tenney, Claire v. S. Brockbank, Lee S. Newman
An aging workforce, increased prevalence of chronic health conditions, and the potential for longer working lives have both societal and economic implications. We analyzed the combined impact of workplace safety, employee health, and job demands (work task difficulty) on worker absence and job performance. The study sample consisted of 16,926 employees who participated in a worksite wellness program offered by a workers’ compensation insurer to their employers—314 large, midsize, and small businesses in Colorado across multiple industries. We found that both workplace safety and employees’ chronic health conditions contributed to absenteeism and job performance, but their impact was influenced by the physical and cognitive difficulty of the job. If employers want to reduce health-related productivity losses, they should take an integrated approach to mitigate job-related injuries, promote employee health, and improve the fit between a worker’s duties and abilities.