The effects of workplace health promotion on absenteeism and employment costs in a large industrial population

Am J Public Health. 1990 Sep;80(9):1101-5. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.9.1101.


We evaluated the impact of a comprehensive workplace health promotion program on absences among full-time employees in a large, multi-location, diversified industrial company. A pretest-posttest control group design was used to study 41 intervention sites and 19 control sites with 29,315 and 14,573 hourly employees, respectively. Blue-collar employees at intervention sites experienced an 14.0 percent decline in disability days over two years versus a 5.8 percent decline at control sites. This resulted in a net difference of 11,726 fewer disability days over two years at program sites compared with non-program sites. Savings due to lower disability costs at intervention sites offset program costs in the first year, and provided a return of $2.05 for every dollar invested in the program by the end of the second year. These results suggest that comprehensive workplace health promotion programs can reduce disability days among blue collar employees and provide a good return on investment.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Promotion* / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health Services* / economics