How to Reduce Frequent Employee Smoke Breaks

Do you have employee’s who smoke? Did you know that annual health care costs for smokers are 31 percent higher on average than non smokers? With today’s raising health care costs, every company should be asking this question and every company should be developing a cost saving plan to reduce the costs associated with smoking.

A  recent study from the American Cancer Society revealed that  when a smoker is hospitalized their average stay is longer than a non smoker resulting in a higher medical bill to the employer and the patient. Smokers also made six more visits to health care facilities per year when compared to non smokers.

How can you change this  for your company? Here are some tools you can use to  provide a comprehensive smoking cessation program to your employees and in turn save you millions  in  associated health care costs:

  • Let your employees can help themselves by providing them with smoking cessation brochures in public places
  • Provide information on the affects of smoking through employee newsletters and intranets
  • Offer telephone based counseling for those employees interested in quitting.
  • Provide on line information on smoking cessation to your employees
  • Consider implementing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides counseling and support
  • Train existing staff members to teach cessation programs
  • Develop incentive plans for those employees who quit smoking
  • Offer low or no cost co-pays for smoking related medications
  • Sponsor an on site support group, for those trying to quit
  • Conduct brief seminars on the effects of smoking
  • Sponsor special events around other healthy changes: such as weight loss and exercise programs
  • Offer Health Risk Appraisals
  • Create a non smoking environment by posting the new policy and enforcing the new policy

Awareness of the costs associated with smokers is growing and causing many state and local governments to mandate workplace smoke free policies. It is in the best interest of employer’s bottom line to formulate a voluntary, proactive and prevention oriented approach to this growing, costly health concern.

Invest In Your Safety Plan and Workers’ Compensation Programs and Save!

If you purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you would have $49.00 today. If you purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you would have $0.00 today. Tough economic times call for aggressive measures. Invest in your company’s safety program and your injured workers return to work program.

Designing a good safety program can help with the rising costs of workers’ compensation insurance premiums. No business is immune to having injuries, they will happen! That is part of the cost of doing business. Having a safety plan is like ground zero; you need to look at your company as a whole and build from your safety plan. Evaluate the environment, the tools, the hazards, and overall safety of your employees. Prevention is the best way to save!


Workers Compensation Costs Driven By Inappropriate Claims!

Inappropriate claims are one the biggest driving costs of workers compensation increases. Up to 25 percent of all filings may have some form of fraud. There are many possible causes, including misunderstandings, miscommunication, cost shifting from a non-occupational health care plan, employee resentment, non-efficient service providers, and outright fraud. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that workers’ compensation fraud costs alone are in the billions. So in return, this cost is billed back to the employers in the form of billion dollar premiums.

Workers’ compensation laws are working against the employers. The laws are creating insensible incentives. The longer an injured employee is out of work, the more likely they will ride it out for a cash settlement. Even the small injuries that should only have the worker out for two or three days can be stretched into two or three weeks, or even more! Every workers’ compensation guideline has a waiting period. Typically, it runs about three to seven days before an injured employee becomes entitled to indemnification for lost wages. It can often be done on a retroactive basis to day one of the claim. For many low paid workers the “tax free” wage alternative is an acceptable lifestyle.


Are Work Comp Costs Really a Big Deal?

The system that was designed to provide medical care and wage replacement for workers who suffer work-related injuries or illness is straining to sustain itself. Rising claim costs and non-regulated reinsurance are contributing factors to the rising costs of work comp.

Today, workers’ comp accounts for one of the fastest growing labor costs. Premiums for workers’ comp have risen 50% nationwide in the last three years – the fastest pace in a decade according to the New York City-based Insurance Information Institute. It really is simple math when every year costs double due to too many claims lasting longer than expected. Some businesses are finding themselves being hit with back-to-back increases of 25% and 40%, even if these businesses are favorable in workplace accident rates. As a business, there is no way to budget for a 20% increase that turns out to be twice that number.

Workers’ Compensation costs have had an enormous impact on several businesses’ bottom line. Accidents simply cost money – not only through direct costs, such as medical and compensation expenses, but in employee morale and client respect as well. Indirect costs are hard to calculate, but if lost, these items can cost your business several times more than direct expenses.