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Health Risk Calculator

Center for Health, Work & Environment


​​Prioritizing worker health, safety, and well-being is good for employees and their employers. Our research has found that when employees' health improves, workers' compensation costs go down.

Find out how much your organization could save by investing in worker health and safety.


​ ​​Frequently Asked Questions


 What can I learn from using this calculator?

The Health Risk Calculator is an educational tool. With this tool, businesses and professionals can learn about the association between employee health and workers’ compensation costs, and gain access to resources to improve employee health and safety at work. This information can help your business make the case for investing more in your company's safety, health, and wellness programs.​​​

1

 What data should I be entering? What if I don't know the health status of my business's workforce?

You do not need to know the exact health status of your workforce to use the calculator. In fact, most businesses do not have this information yet! We hope that you play with the numbers so you understand where you can have the greatest impact.

However, if you would like to input the exact health status of your workforce, administer a health risk assessment or survey to all employees. You can then use the aggregated results of that survey to inform your inputs.  

See the resources section of the calculator for more information.​
​​2

 What does "per 100 employees" mean?

This is the average number and cost of claims for an employer with your characteristics that has 100 employees. To figure out your business's exact results, you can do the following simple calculations.

For example,
  • If you have 10 employees, your business is expected to have 10% of the claims that a business with 100 employees has.
  • If you have 50 employees, your business is expected to have 50% of the claims that a business with 100 employees has, 
  • If you have 150 employees, your business is expected to have 150% of the claim that a business with 100 employees has. 
  • If you have 200 employees, your business is expected to have 200% of the claim that a business with 100 employees has. ​

Multiply the percent difference in number of employees per 100 by the calculator's results. So, if you have 10 employees but your results say 5 claims per 100 employees, your business's results would be 0.5 claims (5 claims per 100 employees x 0.10 = 0.05 claims per 10 employees).
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 Who created and maintains the calculator?

Researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environment developed the Health Risk Calculator in collaboration with Pinnacol Assurance.​​

4

 How was this calculator created?

The Health Risk Calculator is based on a statistical algorithm. Researchers at the Center for Health, Work & Environment used a database of 16,926 Colorado employees who participated in Pinnacol’s free worksite wellness program for policyholders from May 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014. Each employee took a baseline health risk assessment survey when they started the program. This survey was then matched to the employees’ workers’ compensation claims filed with Pinnacol Assurance within one year after the survey.  
Our researchers estimated the probability of a workers’ compensation claim within one year based on a variety of demographic and health risk factor variables. This resulted in an average probability of a claim across a variety of companies and employees. To obtain your estimate, the calculator adjusts this probability based on the information you provided (for example, the percent of your workforce that has diabetes). Finally, this probability was multiplied by the number of employees you indicated your business has and then multiplied by the average cost of a claim with Pinnacol and expressed as a unit per 100 employees.​
​​​5

 Is there research evidence to support the calculator’s findings?

The calculator is based on sound statistical methods with a large and fairly generalizable dataset. The dataset contains information on employees with a variety of demographic backgrounds from multiple industries and business sizes.
 
Other researchers from around the country have also studied this issue. Their research has also found a significant statistical relationship between employee health and workers’ compensation costs.

For more information on the source of the data used to create the calculator, please read these articles published in peer-reviewed occupational health and safety journals:

  • Newman, L. S., Stinson, K. E., Metcalf, D., Fang, H., Brockbank, C. V., Jinnett, K., et al. (2015). Implementation of a Worksite Wellness Program Targeting Small Businesses: The Pinnacol Assurance Health Risk Management Study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 57(1), 14–21. 
  • Goetzel, R. Z., Tabrizi, M., Henke, R. M., Benevent, R., Brockbank, C. A. V. S., Stinson, K., et al. (2014). Estimating the Return on Investment From a Health Risk Management Program Offered to Small Colorado-Based Employers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56(5), 554–560. 
  • Schwatka, N. V., Atherly, A., Dally, M. J., Fang, H., vS Brockbank, C., Tenney, L., et al. (2017). Health risk factors as predictors of workers’ compensation claim occurrence and cost. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 74(1), 14–23.
  • Jinnett, K., Schwatka, N., Tenney, L., Brockbank, C. A. V. S., & Newman, L. S. (2017). Chronic Conditions, Workplace Safety, And Job Demands Contribute To Absenteeism And Job Performance. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 36(2), 237–244. 
 ​6

 Why doesn’t the calculator include questions about my business’s safety practices?

We recognize that business practices to protect the safety and health of workers are very important. The database that the calculator is based on did not include information on business level safety practices. Thus, these components could not be included in the calculator.
 ​​
7

 My business has not had a claim in the past few years. Why does the calculator say that I will have a claim in the next year?


The calculator results represent an approximation based on the information you entered into the calculator. While your business may have not experienced a workers’ compensation claim recently, similar businesses have. Therefore, the results represent the average workers’ compensation claim experience a business with your characteristics may have in the next year.

​​​10

 How do I get help interpreting my results?

P​lease contact Erin Shore, the Small + Safe + Well (SSWell) Study​ Research Coordinator, at erin.shore@ucdenver.edu​ or 303.724.8395.​​​

​​8

 Can I use this calculator to inform our employment policies and practices?

It is illegal to use discriminate employment policies and practices based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Please see the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information.

Businesses are encouraged to contact Health LinksTM, a signature progam of the Center for Health, Work & Environment, at contact@healthlinkscertified.org for more information on how to start employee health and safety programs.

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Colorado School of Public Health

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Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045



colorado.sph@ucdenver.edu

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