Better health at work? An evaluation of the effects and cost-benefits of a structured workplace health improvement programme in reducing sickness absence

T Braun, C Bambra, M Booth, K Adetayo, E Milne
Journal of Public Health 2015, 37 (1): 138-42

BACKGROUND: This paper presents the results of an evaluation of the Better Health at Work Award-a structured regional workplace health programme which combined changes to the work environment with lifestyle interventions.

METHODS: Baseline and follow-up data on sickness-absence rates and programme costs were collected retrospectively via a web survey of all participating organizations. Changes over time were calculated using 95% confidence intervals of the mean, supplemented by hypothesis testing using a t-test. The indicative cost-benefits of the intervention were also calculated.

RESULTS: Participation was associated with a mean reduction in sickness absence of 0.26-1.6 days per employee per year depending on the length and level of participation in the programme. The estimated cost for the programme was £3 per sickness-absence day saved.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the Better Health at Work Award could be a cost-effective way of improving health and reducing sickness absence particularly in the public sector. However, controlled evaluations of future interventions are needed.

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