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Better health at work? An evaluation of the effects and cost benefits of a structured workplace health improvement programme in reducing sickness absence

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare Bambra, Dr Mark Booth



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Background: This paper presents the results of an evaluation of the Better Health at Work Award—a structured regional workplace health programme which combined changes to the work environment with lifestyle interventions. Methods: Baseline and follow-up data on sickness-absence rates and programme costs were collected retrospectively via a web survey of all participating organizations. Changes over time were calculated using 95% confidence intervals of the mean, supplemented by hypothesis testing using a t-test. The indicative cost–benefits of the intervention were also calculated. Results: Participation was associated with a mean reduction in sickness absence of 0.26–1.6 days per employee per year depending on the length and level of participation in the programme. The estimated cost for the programme was £3 per sickness-absence day saved. Conclusions: These results suggest that the Better Health at Work Award could be a cost-effective way of improving health and reducing sickness absence particularly in the public sector. However, controlled evaluations of future interventions are needed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Braun T, Bambra C, Booth M, Kasim A, Milne E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Public Health

Year: 2015

Volume: 37

Issue: 1

Pages: 138-142

Print publication date: 01/03/2015

Online publication date: 06/07/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Date deposited: 05/02/2017

ISSN (print): 1741-3842

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3850

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdu043


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