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Massachusetts workers' compensation claims affected by bad diets?

If you work 12 to 15 hours a day in a physically demanding job, you would think the one thing you don't have to worry about is weight gain. However, a recent study done through the University of Massachusetts-Lowell indicates just the opposite and may be an important factor for employers and employees alike when it comes to workers' compensation claims. The gist of the study is that those people who spend so much time working on their feet in low paying jobs have little energy left over for exercise or to eat healthy.

The Boston Workers Alliance and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health also participated in the study. Part of the potential health problems identified includes repetitive motion. Those workers who use the same body movements over and over again on the job run the risk of physical and emotional injury. The thought is that these workers become so tired that they are primarily interested only in sleeping and eating once they punch out from the job.

Despite the physical demands of many of these types of employment, those that work in these positions are typically associated with poor diets. Life becomes a series of lunchroom breaks, filled with fast food and coin machines offering a quick snack on the fly. One of the study's goals was to convince Massachusetts employers that the health of their employees could spur productivity and lessen time missed due to injury or illness, generating both savings and more income for a business. It was suggested that employers provide specified meal breaks while also equipping break rooms with clean refrigeration and microwaves to encourage healthy eating.

Workers' compensation benefits are typically applicable in Massachusetts whenever an employee is injured or becomes ill on the job. The goal for both employers and employees, of course, is to avoid injury or illness in the first place. The study suggests that a healthier workforce is the foundation for a satisfied worker who will likely miss less time from work and be more satisfied in his or her employment. Of course, it is not possible to entirely avoid injury or illness on the job, and in those instances where it occurs, worker's compensation benefits play an important role in providing funds for medical costs and missed income from work while the employee is on the mend.

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette, "State study finds low-wage jobs can be unhealthy," Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Nov. 25, 2012

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