Employers are affected by the issue of pain in many ways. Chronic pain is the number one cause of disability in the United States4, and lost productive time from common pain conditions among active U.S. workers costs an estimated $61.2 billion annually5.
As an Employer, What Can You Do?
Include coverage for pain management and injury prevention in the insurance policies that you offer to employees and their family members.
Since employers can influence the types of insurance policies that are offered to employees and their families, it is important to consider including a variety of pain management and injury prevention solutions in health insurance offerings.
Questions employers should be asking of their health insurance providers/administrators:
- Do the health insurance plans that your organization offers cover pain management solutions that are alternatives to medication such as massage and chiropractic services?
- Do these health insurance plans cover products and services such as yoga or gym memberships that can prevent pain and injuries?
- Are these services covered for and offered to both employees and their family members?
Create a work environment that supports employees in avoiding injuries and managing pain.
Full-time employed Americans spend more than 2,000 hours a year working. With so much time spent on the job, it is important for employers to design work environments that help employees avoid injuries and manage pain. Workplace injuries can occur in all types of jobs- those that involve manual labor such as construction as well as those that involve people sitting at a desk for most of the day.
Ways in which employers can design workplace environments that support injury prevention and pain management can vary by industry. Some common areas of focus include ergonomic design and the development of policies that support injury prevention and the management of pain.
Questions employers should be asking in this area:
- Does your organization provide products and services at your workplace to prevent injury and help employees manage pain such as those that focus on ergonomic design or developing core stability?
- Are products and services that are offered to prevent injury and manage pain available to all of your employees including those who are at different locations and those who are mobile or work from home? Are they available during all shifts? Does your organization have policies that support employees utilizing these services such as paid break times?
Invest in employee education on pain management and the use of prescription medications.
Education should include risk factors for developing dependency and options available for treatment and recovery from abuse. Informing employees about Complementary and Alternative Medicines to treat chronic pain should be part of the employee education. Click here for additional information on managing pain.