Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), costing billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and lost productivity. Fortunately, heart disease is preventable and there are steps employers can take to encourage employee heart health. February is American Heart Month, an opportune time for employers to implement employee wellness programs and promote heart healthy behaviors in the workplace.
People of any age can develop heart disease; it does not only affect older adults. However, the highest risk groups are of working age between 25 and 54 years old, and those 55 and older. There are several lifestyle factors that increase a person’s risk of heart disease, including:
The CDC reports that nearly one in three adults in the U.S. has high cholesterol, which has harmful effects on the heart and can lead to heart disease. Workers can reduce their risk by engaging in heart healthy behaviors, such as:
Employers can promote heart healthy habits in the workplace, thereby reducing the risk of their employees developing heart disease. Currently, only about 46 percent of employers have a workplace wellness program, according to a CDC Workplace Health in America survey. Employers can improve the health of their business by implementing a holistic wellness program, as well as:
Workers who suffer injuries at work or while engaged in work duties are generally entitled to Workers’ Compensation. In Pennsylvania, those who suffer a heart attack at work may be able to collect benefits if they can prove that the heart attack occurred in relation to and during their work. Work-related stress that causes a worker to suffer a heart attack may give rise to a viable Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers may also collect Workers’ Compensation for pre-existing conditions if they were aggravated by a work-related injury. Therefore, a worker may be able to claim compensation if abnormal working conditions, such as workplace stress or the physical demands of the job, worsened their pre-existing heart condition and caused the disease to progress faster than normal.
However, these types of claims can be difficult to prove because a causal connection between the injury and the work environment must be established, despite the many lifestyle risk-factors that exist for heart disease. If successful, an injured worker may be able to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits, including payment for medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and death benefits.
If you suffered a heart attack at work or your work environment worsened your heart condition, let a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Gross & Kenny, LLP assist you with your claim. From our office in Philadelphia, we represent injured workers throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 267-589-0090.