Prevention program at construction worksites aimed at improving health and work ability is cost-saving to the employer: Results from an RCT

Authors

  • K.M. Oude Hengel PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    2. Body@Work, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU/VUmc, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: K.M. Oude Hengel, PhDc, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, P.O. Box 718, 2130 AS, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.

      E-mail: karen.oudehengel@tno.nl

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  • J.E. Bosmans PhD,

    1. Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • J.M. Van Dongen MSc,

    1. Body@Work, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU/VUmc, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    3. Department of Public and Occupational Health, The EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • P.M. Bongers PhD,

    1. Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    2. Body@Work, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU/VUmc, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    3. Department of Public and Occupational Health, The EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • A.J. Van der Beek PhD,

    1. Body@Work, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU/VUmc, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Public and Occupational Health, The EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • B.M. Blatter PhD

    1. Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
    2. Body@Work, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU/VUmc, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors declare they have no competing interests.

Abstract

Background

To prolong sustainable healthy working lives of construction workers, a prevention program was developed which aimed to improve the health and work ability of construction workers. The objective of this study was to analyze the cost-effectiveness and financial return from the employers' perspective of this program.

Methods

A total of 293 workers in 15 departments were randomized to the intervention (n = 8 departments) or control group (n = 7). Data on work ability and health were collected using questionnaires. Sick leave data were obtained from the companies. Both the cost-effectiveness analyses and return on investment analyses were performed.

Results

After 12 months, the absenteeism costs were significantly lower in the intervention group than in the control group. At 12-month follow-up, no significant differences were found with respect to the primary outcomes (work ability, mental and physical health status) and secondary outcomes (musculoskeletal symptoms), meaning that the intervention was not cost-effective in comparison with the control group. The net-benefit was €641 per worker, and the intervention generated a positive financial return to the employer.

Conclusion

The intervention in the present study was cost-saving to the employer due to reduced sickness absenteeism costs in the intervention group compared with the control group. However, the intervention cannot be regarded as cost-effective as no significant effects were found for work ability and health. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:56–68, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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