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Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Wolfson Fellow

Publication details for Dr Mark Booth

Braun, T., Bambra, C.L., Booth, M., Kasim, A. & Milne, E. (2015). Better health at work? An evaluation of the effects and cost benefits of a structured workplace health improvement programme in reducing sickness absence. Journal of Public Health 37(1): 138-142.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Background This paper presents the results of an evaluation of the Better Health at Work Award—a structured regional workplace health programme which combined changes to the work environment with lifestyle interventions.

Methods Baseline and follow-up data on sickness-absence rates and programme costs were collected retrospectively via a web survey of all participating organizations. Changes over time were calculated using 95% confidence intervals of the mean, supplemented by hypothesis testing using a t-test. The indicative cost–benefits of the intervention were also calculated.

Results Participation was associated with a mean reduction in sickness absence of 0.26–1.6 days per employee per year depending on the length and level of participation in the programme. The estimated cost for the programme was £3 per sickness-absence day saved.

Conclusions These results suggest that the Better Health at Work Award could be a cost-effective way of improving health and reducing sickness absence particularly in the public sector. However, controlled evaluations of future interventions are needed.