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Employee Pain Equals Lost Productivity

8/4/2017

Headaches and Pain Cause $61 Billion a Year in Lost Time

Headaches, back pain, arthritis and other aches distract employees and cost companies more than $61 billion a year in lost production time, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That's at least $440 in lost time per worker, per year.

Employers can save billions of dollars in lost time each year by providing basic first aid supplies and over-the-counter pain medications in the workplace. Stocking aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and other basic first aid supplies costs pennies a day per employee and helps save individual companies thousands in potential lost time.

"Companies are often blind to the real cost associated with minor aches and pains such as headaches or back pain, says Lawrence Shaw, CEO of NorMed. "It isn't just an hourly wage you have to pay when an employee struggles to get through the workday with a headache, it is the value of what they could be producing.

The Real Cost of Employee Pain

Using a random sample of nearly 30,000 working adults in the United States, researchers found more than half reported having headache, back pain, arthritis or other muscle/joint pain in the previous two weeks. Overall, 12.7 percent of the workforce reported lost productive time in a two-week period due to these common pain conditions; 7.2 percent lost two hours per week or more.

The study estimated, conservatively, that the national price tag for all this lost time topped $61 billion a year.

For individual companies, the cost of these missing hours adds up quickly, to at least $440 in lost time per worker, per year. That's $22,000 a year for a company with 50 workers and $88,000 for a company with a staff of 200.

"The cost of providing high quality commercial grade first aid supplies is only pennies per day per employee, says Shaw. "Larger companies get huge returns on the cost of supplies. Luckily, more companies have come to understand the true cost of employees who can't treat common pains and aches while on the job and are providing the needed supplies to keep employees productive and happy.

For more information on how to start, stock and maintain your company's first aid supplies, click here.

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