Oregon Healthy Workforce Center Advisory Committee Meeting Talks Future Directions

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHSC) External Advisory Committee assessed the 6 interventions (some call these solutions) in Oregon workplaces to improve safety, health, wellness and well-being as ‘impressive’ in that they had been conducted so quickly after funding and had recruited and retained sizable workforce samples (over 750 participants) from construction, corrections, home care, parks and recreation (young) workers, and workers with disabilities.  The OHWC is a NIOSH-funded Total Worker Health Center of Excellence.

Are They Effective?
These projects are actively collecting data after the interventions, so their effectiveness won’t be known until later in 2014.  Examples of the measures being collected are BMI (Body Mass Index, a measure of weight), safety compliance, safety climate, work stress, smoking (quitting), healthy dietary practices.  If these measures change in a positive direction the interventions will be effective in preventing accidents and the development of chronic diseases by reducing the risk factors that lead to them.

What Does the Future Hold?
The Advisory Committee emphasized the importance of continuing to work with these populations in the coming years and beyond, but they also recommended that the investigators move on to larger population samples in other industries.  Suggested workforce populations were postal and delivery workers in transportation, TSA workers, Indian Health Service, Forest Service, Oregon state workers (broadly), agriculture, service industry.  Companies in these industries who may want to participate in such interventions should contact the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.

How can You Participate or Obtain Evidence-Based Programs?
The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center is holding it’s Partner’s Luncheon on March 20 at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion in Portland to talk about programs, simpler starter tools and how to efficiently get them to users (companies, organizations).  A speaker from Colorado’s Health Links program will describe their program that has brought wellness tools to over 1000 small businesses and help us figure out how to do the same thing in Oregon – but for safety and health and well-being in addition to wellness.    Download the 2014 Partners’ Luncheon flier or register to attend this event and learn more (you must fill out a short survey), but the event is NO COST.  Contact us for further details or questions.  Pictures on the page are from the Advisory Committee meeting.

Members of the External Advisory Committee are Tom Becker (OHSU), Chuck Easterly (SAIF), Leda Garside (Tuality Salud), Joe Hurrell (NIOSH, retired; Journal of Occupational Health Psychology), Jae Douglas (Oregon Health Authority), Noah Sexius (University of Washington), Mark Cullen (Stanford University), John Mohlis (Oregon Building Trades), Ron Tubby (Intel).

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About the Author

W. Kent Anger, PhD, is a Senior Scientist and Associate Director for Applied Research at OHSU's Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology.

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