So, is it time to report height and weight on workers comp claims? This idea certainly correlates with injury management principles advocated by WorkCompEdge:
“It makes good sense that if you’re aware of a potential pitfall in a worker’s recovery process, you can make efforts to avoid that pitfall. Although it’s currently not customary to report a worker’s height and weight on a workers comp claim, research suggests that collecting this data would be one way to better manage claims and control costs.”Workers compensation covers the cost of medical claims and disability claims for workers who are injured while on the job. Mounting evidence shows that when an obese person makes a claim, they are more likely to have long-lasting injuries or become unable to return to work. As a result, the insurance company pays out more compensation to the injured employee, and the employer's insurance premiums may rise. Past studies by NCCI have evaluated how a worker’s age can affect the frequency and severity of claims. Now, as obesity becomes an increasingly prevalent global issue, this has become a topic that deserves attention.
If the data accurately indicates that employees with higher BMI’s are more likely to sustain long lasting injuries (and reap the insurance rewards) compared with lower weight employees, then employers who have a low percentage of obese employees can document this and negotiate lower workers comp insurance rates for their healthy workforce. This is one more reason to make comprehensive, preventative wellness programs a priority among employers. In the long run, healthy employees are less likely to be a financial burden on a company.