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Behavior Change Can Mitigate Serious Workplace Injuries & Fatalities: Steps to Success

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Las Vegas, NV (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Dr. Tyler Amell, a specialist on workplace health and well-being, recently delivered a compelling keynote speech at the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference. The event occurred at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and served as a beacon for professionals and leaders in worker health and safety. Dr. Amell holds several important titles, including Chief Health and Strategy Officer of MediKeep, a faculty member at Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences, and a board member for both the National Wellness Institute and Work Wellness Institute. His comprehensive background made him ideal for addressing the conference's diverse audience.

In his address, Dr. Amell highlighted the pressing issue of fragmented efforts in tackling workplace health, safety, and well-being. He called for an integrated approach that ties together key aspects such as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). The goal, he insisted, is to weave these into the organizational fabric encompassing operations, employee engagement, and leadership ethos.

Dr. Amell noted that workplace dynamics are undergoing a seismic shift. With a considerable portion of the workforce aging, businesses must adapt their strategies to meet the unique needs of an older demographic. The sky-high stress levels, burnout, and a range of preventable yet rampant chronic conditions add to the complexity. Employers must broaden their vision beyond traditional safety measures to include psychological well-being and overall life satisfaction.

Dr. Amell cited alarming statistics from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to illustrate the situation's urgency better. A staggering 80% of cases of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease are preventable, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depression rates hover around 38%, further complicating the health scenario. He stressed that the comorbidities and polymorbidities significantly increase the vulnerability to severe conditions like COVID-19. Having diabetes increases the risk threefold, obesity by 4.5 times, and having multiple conditions can escalate the risk by up to five times.

In a notable segment of his keynote, Dr. Amell delved into the complex web of factors that contribute to overall health. He divided these determinants into five categories, each with varying degrees of control. Firstly, he highlighted that the physical environment contributes to 7% of one's overall health and is partially within an organization's management—factors like office design, lighting, and noise can be manipulated to optimize employee well-being.

Secondly, medical care, which accounts for 11%, also falls under the "some control" category. Employers can make a difference by offering comprehensive healthcare benefits, facilitating easy access to medical services, or hosting health-related events like vaccination drives.

Dr. Amell emphasized that Genetics and biology, responsible for 22% of health outcomes, are beyond anyone's control. However, he noted that they set the baseline for what employers must consider when addressing the health needs of a diverse workforce.

Social circumstances contribute to 24% of a person's health. While it's challenging to control external social factors, employers can cultivate a supportive community, enabling networks and structures within the workplace to alleviate social stressors.

The most substantial determinant, individual behaviors, contribute to 36% of one's health and well-being. This area is where employers have the most direct control. The employer can drive change through targeted programs and policies, from promoting physical activities to encouraging balanced diets.

By laying out these determinants, Dr. Amell made a compelling case for a holistic, multi-pronged approach to workplace health. Understanding these elements allows organizations to target interventions effectively, creating a more balanced and healthier work environment for everyone involved.

What stood out in his discourse was the weight given to psychological well-being. He cited extensive World Health Organization (WHO) research to make his case. Despite the unequivocal evidence supporting the role of workplace stress in manifesting physical ailments, including heart disease, this aspect needs to be addressed in policy discussions where he suggests expanding occupational safety to include work-related stress and harmful behaviors.

In the closing moments of his enlightening speech, Dr. Amell argued passionately for a concerted, unified approach involving all stakeholders in health, safety, and well-being. "Very few people wake up one day to say to themselves, 'Today I'm going to try my hardest to get seriously injured on the job. Maybe even die.'" He criticized organizations that engage in superficial wellness activities without a grounded strategy. Such actions, he cautioned, can sometimes cause more harm than good. Instead, he called for investment in comprehensive, evidence-based programs tailored to the needs and risks specific to each workforce.

Dr. Tyler Amell's keynote speech at the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference was a powerful force for action, illustrating key concepts discussed in pockets throughout the industry. He urged for a multi-dimensional, holistic strategy aimed at reducing workplace injuries and fatalities and enhancing the broader well-being of all employees. According to Dr. Amell, the overarching goal is to build a resilient, inclusive, and mentally and physically healthy work environment.


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