Total Worker Health®

What is Total Worker Health?

Total Worker Health®  is defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 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."  

We typically spend much of our waking hours at work. It is inevitable that factors at the workplace contribute to our health and well-being, both at work and at home. For example, stress at work has been associated with burnout and anxiety, shift work can increase the risk for sleep disorders, and various work-related risk factors have been linked to injury, musculoskeletal disorders, depression, unhealthy lifestyles and many chronic diseases. In turn, health concerns are linked with injury, absenteeism, turnover, and productivity.

Traditional occupational health and safety programs focus primarily on keeping workers safe from workplace hazards such as injury risks and harmful exposures. We have since learned that other factors are important to consider as well—for example, wage, work environment, work load, work stress, co-worker and supervisor support, etc., have been shown to affect one's risk for sleep disorders, cardiovascular disease, depression, and a number of physiological and emotional health concerns, which in turn can affect one's work. Thus, through a combination of research and practice, we have come to understand that ensuring a healthy worker necessitates a holistic view that goes beyond a traditional work safety focus—one that would not only protect the worker from workplace hazards but also enhance his/her well-being at work and outside of work—one that would incorporate a "total worker health" approach. 

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