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The economics of integrating injury and illness prevention and health promotion programs.

Seabury-SA; Lakdawalla-D; Reville-RT
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2005 Feb; :1-32
There is a growing interest in coordinating employer programs to promote health and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses. While efforts to study the effectiveness of both types of programs separately are methodologically challenging, most studies suggest that health promotion and injury and illness prevention activities can reduce the frequency and severity of negative health outcomes for workers. There is little evidence, however, on whether or not the effectiveness of interventions are enhanced by combining the two types of programs into a single all-encompassing effort by employers to improve worker health. This paper uses an economic model to explore whether or not a coordinated effort by employers would lead to superior health outcomes for workers. The model suggests that improved outcomes can result if there are "spillovers" from nonoccupational and occupational risk factors. In other words, if factors that influence individual health at home and work combine to influence health in a synergistic fashion, then there will be a gain to coordinating health promotion and injury prevention programs. Using data from the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), we search for evidence of health spillovers for two important risk factors that are generally thought to jointly contribute to negative health consequences: smoking and exposure to harmful substances at work (e.g., asbestos). We confirm past evidence that these two factors do combine to worsen health outcomes beyond what would occur if individuals were exposed to either in isolation, but the evidence also suggests that other, unobserved factors likely contribute to the estimated spillovers.
Employee-health; Worker-health; Safety-research; Health-protection; Health-programs; Safety-programs; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Occupations; Injury-prevention; Disease-prevention; Accident-prevention; Total-Worker-Health
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health