What is Total Worker Health®?

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Total Worker Health® in a Nutshell

The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) coined the term Total Worker Health® as an evolution of its strategy to promote a healthier U.S. workforce. In short, Total Worker Health® (TWH) is a systems-level strategy to protect workers’ health and enhance well-being by looking more broadly at the conditions of work and how to address issues that adversely impact worker health. 

TWH is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with the promotion of injury and illness-prevention efforts to advance worker well-being. The TWH approach seeks to improve the well-being of the U.S. workforce by protecting their safety and enhancing their health and productivity. Using TWH strategies benefits workers, employers, and the community. 

Supporting healthier workplaces

The TWH approach supports the growth of effective health and safety programs by proposing an integrated strategy to address both mental and physical health at work. This idea is supported by extensive research on how various working conditions influence health, well-being, and productivity, and on the recognition that work is a social determinant of health. Beyond traditional worker exposures to various workplace hazards, research shows the influence of psychosocial and organizational hazards such as job demands and pressures, degree of autonomy and flexibility, quality of interactions with supervisors and coworkers, frequency of shiftwork, and length of the workday. This broadscale prevention approach prioritizes a hazard-free work environment for all workers with intentional and meaningful collaborations that can result in healthier workplaces.

Total Worker Health centers

NIOSH funded the Centers of Excellence in the United States with the goal of examining the TWH approach and build evidence of its effectiveness in bringing about positive health and safety outcomes for workers across industries. In 2011, OHWC became the 4thTotal Worker Health Center. Today, OHWC is one of ten centers across the country.

Total Worker Health education

Total Worker Health Alliance Curriculum

A series of TWH-focused courses designed to meet the standards of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s TWH approach and features. 

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Total Worker Health Professional Certificate

The certificate program is designed to equip working professionals with a deep and practical understanding of the TWH approach. Participants who complete the program will acquire competency to begin implementing TWH concepts and principles within organizations.

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Learn more about our work

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Explore professional development opportunities, the latest updates from the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and the Occupational Public Health Program, a research snapshot, and upcoming occupational health-focused events.

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The Oregon and the Workplace Blog features the latest OccHealthSci research, professional development opportunities, and valuable insights from disciplines associated with occupational health, safety, and well-being.

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The What's Work Got to Do with It podcast, produced by OccHealthSci, brings together occupational health, safety, and well-being experts to discuss the latest topics relating to worker health, well-being, and safety in Oregon and beyond.