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

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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.

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.

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.

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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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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