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Bureau of Workers' Compensation rolls out free wellness program

A previous blog post announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) would be rolling out a new wellness program in early 2018 as part of its plan to focus on wellness and workplace safety. The wellness program is now in effect, providing health and wellness resources to employers with 50 or fewer employees in high-risk industries across Ohio.

The BWC previously stated that the wellness program would provide high-risk industry workers with services designed to promote wellness such as health risk assessments, biometric screenings, personalized health plans and coaching and chronic disease management. According to the BWC, high-risk industries include agriculture, automotive repair and service, construction, firefighting, health care, manufacturing, police and public safety, restaurant and food service, transportation and trucking, trash collection, and wholesale and retail.

To reduce rates of workplace accidents and improve overall productivity, the BWC is offering the free wellness assessment program to those who are at increased risk of workplace injury and who do not already have wellness programs in effect. The first part of the program involves an evaluation of the participant's health, including height, weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol measurements. Workers who choose to complete this phase will receive a $75 Mastercard gift card for their participation.

Participants who suffer from two or more chronic diseases are eligible for three coaching sessions involving discussions about how to improve their health through lifestyle changes. Those who complete all three coaching sessions will receive an additional $50 gift card.

A BWC minority and small business advocate in the BWC Department of Strategic Direction notes that there was some discussion about whether to offer these gift cards, because some employees may be participating solely to make money. However, the agency hopes employees are prompted to participate so they can discover and address any health issues they may not be aware of. This awareness will in turn hopefully lead to fewer workplace injuries. That being said, even if they participate in this new wellness initiative, those who are injured at work can still explore the possibility of pursuing a workers' compensation claim.

Source: Piqua Daily Call, Bureau announces free wellness program, Sam Wildow, Feb. 1, 2018

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