What is it?
Total Worker Health® is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being. The Total Worker Health (TWH) approach advocates for a holistic understanding of the factors that contribute to worker well-being.
Scientific evidence now supports what many safety and health professionals, as well as workers themselves, have long suspected—that risk factors in the workplace can contribute to health problems previously considered unrelated to work.
The TWH approach is to assure a systematic and organizational linkage of departmental functions to form an integrated whole, with a unified charge—protecting and promoting the total health, safety, and well-being of workers. (NIOSH)
This will help avoid duplication of services which may be occurring when departments are being run independently of each other.
In a “silo-based” structure, each organizational function attempts to handle company-wide issues separately, using a variety of interventions. At an organisational level, every department stakes out its own turf and its own fiefdom.
Problems are addressed individually, one at a time, and in an uncoordinated fashion. In contrast, an integrated health, safety, and productivity management approach allows business leaders to think about broader organisational problems and develop interdepartmental links to address these problems with greater efficiency in a more complex landscape. (Goetzel, 2012)
- Supporting healthy behavioUr (e.g., creating a health-promoting environment),
- Preventing work-related illnesses and injuries (e.g., controlling workplace hazards),
- Reducing work-related stress (e.g., fostering social support)
- Expanding work-related resources and opportunities (e.g., medical benefits, paid sick and personal leave, child and elder care services, job training, adequate wages)
Why bother with integration?
∗ Evidence supports that integrated approach works
∗ Rising costs of healthcare
∗ Recognition that there is an overlap between ‘work-related’ an ‘non work-related’ health issues
At Upstream we can help organisations by creating policies, programs, and practices which protect and promote worker safety, health, and well-being in line with TWH principles.