Seminar Presentation 3-4

3-4 (Presentation within Topical Seminar 3):
Employees’ Responsibilities in work disability prevention, could they?

Presented by: Cindy Noben

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Authors

Noben C1, Evers S1, Rijk de A2, Nijhuis F3

  1. CAPHRI, School for Public Health and Primary Care, Department of Health Services Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  2. CAPHRI, School for Public Health and Primary Care, Departement of Social Medicine, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  3. CAPHRI, School for Public Health and Primary Care, Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

Abstract

Background

When conducting economic evaluations in occupational health settings one often assumes that costs (eg. healthcare costs, intervention costs) for society or employers are the main drivers in developing or adjusting the policy. However, many argue health should be the most important objective of any intervention and is that to be valued, not costs. In fact, economic evaluations also assess the advantages for workers in their analyses. In our study we also assess the direct beneficial consequences from a worker perspective when economically evaluating interventions aimed at supporting workers to take responsibilities in disability prevention.

Methods

The beneficial consequences for workers when improving their responsibility in work disability prevention interventions have been economically evaluated in several cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses. Study materials presented here are derived from a published study whereby workers (N=617) at elevated risk for mental health complaints due to high job demands were advised and assisted in taking more responsibility in order to prevent decreased work functioning; and thus to prevent work disability. Another intervention enhancing workers' responsibility, provided at the organizational level, focused on cooperation regarding return to work between workers and their employers (N=103). Quality of life, productivity and health served the main outcomes and were analysed in RCTs comparing the intervention with the control condition.

Results

Several factors are associated with resource investment in worker responsibility and work disability prevention: improved health, improved quality of life, improved work functioning, and reduced healthcare uptake rates. Preliminary results show a link between improved worker responsibility and health increase on the one hand and improved quality of life on the other as they both influence work functioning. Interventions that support workers to take responsibilities in disability prevention suggest cost-savings and improved work functioning in favor of the intervention group.

Conclusions

Interventions supporting workers to take responsibilities in disability prevention can be associated with a greater likelihood that beneficial effects are obtained for fewer costs, which is of interest for individual workers and benefits society as a whole.