For years, workplace safety and the well-being or ‘wellness’ of employees have largely operated as independent functions in most organisations. However, more recently we have seen moves to integrate the two functions - health protection (safety) and health promotion (wellness).
Initiatives developed in this movement include the NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) programme which ‘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 which focuses on the five key elements which define a TWH:
- demonstrate leadership commitment to worker safety and health at all levels of the organisation;
- 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.
The workbook can be downloaded from the NIOSH website.
In 2014, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) published a white paper entitled ‘Integrating Health and Safety in the Workplace: How Closely Aligning Health and Safety Strategies Can Yield Multiple Benefits,’ based on the results of a two day summit in which participants identified several factors that could advance the safety and health integration in the U.S. The white paper included a five-point framework which aimed to better align organisational silos and establish sustainable integration of health and safety teams.
You can download the white paper here.
Safety and Wellness Programmes: intrinsically linked