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Woman living a health lifestyle as a prevention tool for workplace injuries and illnesses

Healthy Lifestyle as a Prevention Tool for Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

A healthy lifestyle can be defined as a lifestyle that overall improves someone’s health and well-being.  Examples can include but are not restricted to, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and exhibiting healthy behaviors such as avoidance of smoking, excessive drinking, or drug use.  This lifestyle can be attributed to many things including lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are also strong correlations between exercise and mental health. “Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function,” according to the National Institutes of Health. ¹ Unfortunately, the fact that a healthy lifestyle can be used as a prevention tool for workplace injuries and illnesses is often overlooked.

Health Risk Affecting Employees

According to a study done by the CDC in 2016, absenteeism costs ranged from $16 to $81 (small employer) and $17 to $286 (large employer) per employee per year, thus demonstrating that absenteeism costs associated with chronic diseases and health risk factors can be substantial ².   Lack of sleep alone can contribute to fatigue, inflammation, obesity, impaired judgment, reduced mental awareness, and slower response times making a person more susceptible to injury in a plant with many moving parts. The top 4 work-related injuries/illnesses are:

  1. Slip, trip or fall
  2. Overexertion/muscle strain
  3. Struck by workers/equipment or falling objects
  4. Crashes and collisions

Although accidents are not always related to one’s ability to react quickly, keeping the body healthy and fit can make the body resilient to injury and allow quicker healing times. Keeping the muscles strong can reduce overexertion, the effects of work hardening (training the muscles to do a specific task), and repetitive tasks. 

Simple Ways to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

Many individuals have difficulty finding the time to exercise along with their busy home and work life schedules.  Leading a healthy lifestyle does not have to be complicated.  One does not need to have a gym membership and spend hours a week exercising in order to keep healthy.  It can be as simple as choosing to eat a healthy diet, smoking cessation and getting out and moving regularly, possibly walking daily with the family or a pet, dancing, doing yard work, or any other activity which keeps you away from sitting on the couch.

In the short-term, living a healthy lifestyle can improve one’s overall energy, increase engagement in work and with other staff members, create a positive attitude and a feeling of control over one’s own health, and decrease the risk for chronic diseases which can cause longer recovery times for many injuries and illnesses.  In the long term, it can reduce employee lost time, workers’ compensation costs, and risk factors contributing to musculoskeletal injuries on the job.

Contact Industry Health Solutions for more information on how our specialized services support employee health and wellness.


  1. Schuyler, Dean. “Shared Care.” The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, vol. 08, no. 04, 2006, pp. 241–242., https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0408.
  2. GRB, Asay, et al. “Absenteeism and Employer Costs Associated with Chronic Diseases and Health Risk Factors in the US Workforce.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Oct. 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2016/15_0503.htm.


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