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Occup Med (Lond). 2013 Apr;63(3):203-9. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqs232. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Economic benefit of the PHLAME wellness programme on firefighter injury.

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Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine, Department of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239-3098, USA.



Work-related injuries and illness are prevalent and costly. Firefighting is especially hazardous and many firefighters sustain work-related injuries. Workplace health promotion programmes have shown positive return on investment (ROI). Little is known about how similar programmes would impact injury and cost among firefighters.


To evaluate the impact of a workplace health promotion intervention on workers' compensation (WC) claims and medical costs among Oregon fire departments participating in the PHLAME (Promoting Healthy Lifestyles: Alternative Models' Effects) health promotion programme compared with Oregon fire departments not participating in PHLAME.


Data from firefighters from four large urban fire departments in Oregon were evaluated using a retrospective quasi-experimental study design. Outcomes were (i) total annual firefighter WC claims, (ii) total annual incurred medical costs prior to and after implementation of the PHLAME firefighter worksite health promotion programme (iii) and an ROI analysis.


Data were obtained from 1369 firefighters (mean age of 42 years, 91% white, 93% male). WC claims (P < 0.001) and medical costs (P < 0.01) were significantly lower among PHLAME fire departments compared with Oregon fire departments not participating in the programme. Fire departments participating in the PHLAME TEAM programme demonstrated a positive ROI of 4.61-1.00 (TEAM is used to indicate the 12-session peer-led health promotion programme).


Fire department WC claims and medical costs were reduced after implementation of the PHLAME workplace health promotion programme. This is a low cost, team-based, peer-led, wellness programme that may provide a feasible, cost-effective means to reduce firefighter injury and illness rates.

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