employees were overlaid on workers’ comp/accident rates.
As shown in Exhibit 2, results showed twice the cost for
workers with a BMI greater than 30. The additional workers’
comp claim costs appears to be driven by 1) obesity making
treatment more complicated and 2) the disability period
being extended due to longer patient recovery time.
While the employer clearly saw a connection in the obesity
and workers’ comp data, a deeper analysis suggests a strong
correlation between the two.
Obesity is the driver to disease states such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease (CAD).
If present (or absent) in a population, then a reasonably
strong line can be drawn to the presence (or absence) of
obesity. Combined with obesity and incidence/severity data,
the chronic condition data allows for the triangulation of the
potential source of additional risk.
When we examine the chronic disease profile of nonchronic
disease sufferers in the first bubble graph in Exhibit 3 on
page 46, there is a close grouping to the norm in both cost
Similarly, when the workers’ comp claimants are examined
in the second chart, there is a significantly larger propensity
for the presence of chronic conditions. Put more simply:
If a worker is injured on the job, it is highly likely that
he/she also has a chronic condition(s) associated with
A much deeper analysis of this employer would be necessary
to make a case for causation over correlation. However, when
the various data points of studies conducted on this topic are
combined, a pattern of strong causal suggestions becomes
apparent. If a causal relationship could be proven, there might
be a slowing of/improvement in workers’ comp experience
with a reduction in obesity in the workforce. Again, without
specific data, this is a significant leap, but an important one
Don’t Forget About the EMR
The ramifications of high obesity rates extend far beyond
health care costs, lost workdays, and workers’ comp claims.
Outside influences and pressure from customers make
safety performance a component of whether contractors are
qualified to bid for projects.
Eide Bailly’s 1,200 construction and real estate clients are
connected to a team of professionals who deliver tax,
assurance and consulting services specifically designed
to help contactors grow with confidence.
Experience the Eide Bailly Difference. Call today to learn
how we can help you with your business needs.
YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE
TO CHOOSE BETWEEN
EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE AND
OBESITY: PHYSICAL & FINANCIAL COSTS