Over the years, workplace safety and employee wellness functions have largely operated independently within many organizations. More recently, however, there's been a movement to better integrate health protection (safety) and health promotion (wellness).
NIOSH's Total Worker Health (TWH) program is an example of the types of initiatives that have grown from this movement. NIOSH's program "advocates for a holistic understanding of the factors that contribute to worker well-being." Its latest publication, Fundamentals of Total Worker Health Approaches: Essential Elements for Advancing Worker Safety, Health, and Well-Being (NIOSH Publication No. 2017-112) is a workbook that focuses on the five defining elements of TWH:
- Demonstrate leadership commitment to worker safety and health at all levels of the organization.
- Design work to eliminate or reduce safety and health hazards and promote worker well-being.
- Promote and support worker engagement throughout program design and implementation.
- Ensure confidentiality and privacy of workers.
- Integrate relevant systems to advance worker well-being.
You can download the workbook from NIOSH's website.
In 2014, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) partnered with UL to host a 2-day summit during which participants identified several factors that could advance the safety and health integration in the U.S. Based on those results, ACOEM published a white paper, "Integrating Health and Safety in the Workplace: How Closely Aligning Health and Safety Strategies Can Yield Multiple Benefits." It includes a five-point framework "specifically aimed at better aligning organizational silos and establishing sustainable integration of health and safety teams." You can download the white paper here.
Originally published July 13, 2017.