Absence rates and duration rise with number of risk factors
Illness absence patterns among employees in a petrochemical facility: impact of selected health risk factors. Tsai SP, Wendt JK, Ahmed FS, Donnelly RP, Strawmyer TR. J Occup Environ Med. 2005. 47: 838-846.
To quantify the impact of health risk factors on absenteeism.
2,550 employees of Shell (US), who completed the Shell Health Surveillance System questionnaire between January 1994 and December 2004.
Smoking, overweight and obesity, elevated cholesterol, blood glucose and triglyceride levels, and hypertension were recorded and compared with absences lasting six days or longer.
Current smokers lost nearly twice as many work days as nonsmokers, and employees who were obese had significantly higher rates of work days lost than those of normal weight.
Number of risk factors
Frequency of absences (episodes per 100 employees)
Work days lost per
employee per year
What does this mean?
Presenteeism and absenteeism could both be reduced by improving employee health risk factors.