Projects

  • The Active Workplace Study (Brad Wipfli & Steven Shea, MPIs): Exposure to sedentary work is an occupational hazard with significant health and safety consequences, including increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, early mortality, musculoskeletal pain, injuries, and detrimental changes in physiological functioning. As the number of sedentary jobs in the US continues to grow, effective interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in the workplace are increasingly important. This multilevel intervention will examine the effectiveness of varying doses of a Total Worker Health intervention, aimed at maximizing the utilization of health and safety resources, for reducing sedentary behavior and prolonged sitting among call center employees, who are among the most sedentary workers in the US.
  • Tech4Rest (Ryan Olson & Peter W. Johnson, MPIs): Sleep deficiency is a crosscutting factor for Total Worker Health that not only impacts workplace safety, but also generates excess risk for obesity, chronic disease, and early mortality. This is particularly true in long-haul trucking where drivers face very challenging sleeping conditions. Our project will focus on truck driver teams (pairs), where one driver sleeps in a moving vehicle while the other partner drives. Team drivers experience twice as many awakenings as solo drivers. We will evaluate engineering and behavioral interventions to improve sleep, reduce fatigue, and impact Total Worker Health. An enhanced cab intervention will alter whole body vibrations during driving and sleep periods, and includes a therapeutic mattress system and an active suspension seat. The enhanced cab will be evaluated alone and in combination with a behavioral sleep intervention adapted from our effective SHIFT (Safety & Health Involvement For Truckers) program. The interventions prioritize hazard reduction according to the hierarchy of controls, and will be evaluated with a randomized controlled design.
  • Creating health and safety “Communities of Practice” for Home Care workers (Ryan Olson, PI)
    Using a peer-led curriculum to organize home care workers into neighborhood-based WorkLife teams that provide education and social support for improving lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise) and safety behaviors.
  • Safety & Health Improvement Program (Leslie Hammer and Donald Truxillo, PIs)
    Training supervisors to use a team-based approach to support balance in employee’s work-family demands thus reducing stress and improving safety in City of Portland construction workers.
  • Total Worker Health in Young Workers (Diane S. Rohlman and Kent Anger, PIs)
    NIOSH developed training, Youth at Work, to create an online interactive training curriculum that addresses both health promotion and health protection, and develop a dissemination plan capitalizing on social media specifically designed to interest and be worthwhile to young workers.
  • Supervisor training to promote health/safety in construction (Kent Anger, PI)
    Training supervisor skills supported by behavior tracking technology in Latino and non-Latino supervisors in construction to motivate their employees to adopt and safer work practices and make healthier lifestyle choices (based on an employee training program on healthy lifestyles).

Visit our pilot projects page to learn more.

While OHWC's focus centers around workplace safety, health, and well-being and in particular, Total Worker Health, there are other projects within the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (Institute) that conduct research on these topics. A number of studies within the Institute are aligned with OHWC's focus because: 

  1. Studies are focused on work populations
  2. The goal of these studies, intervention or descriptive, is to improve the safety, health, and well-being of work populations within or across industries.
  3. Intervention components address the area of Total Worker Health such as the TWH Hierarchy of Controls and issues relevant to Total Worker Health (i.e., changing the work environments to eliminate or reduce work hazards, redesigning work structures, improving supervisory practices, enhancing workplace culture, and encouraging positive workplace safety and personal health behaviors).
  4. Outcomes of these studies include improved workplace practices (supervisors and employees), reduced injury, improved safety and lifestyle behaviors, and enhanced well-being.

What are these studies?

These studies are funded by grants other than NIOSH's Total Worker Health program and are led by PIs who are part of the Institute with the exception of one PI (of the MHAT study) who is at Portland State University. All of the PIs who conduct research pertinent to Total Worker Health are actively engaged with the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center. Click on the above links to learn more about the projects.