NIOSH Guides Organizations’ Implementation of Total Worker Health
On Dec. 21, NIOSH published a new
intended to help employers, workers, and professionals develop new initiatives or better align existing workplace interventions with the Total Worker Health (TWH) approach, the agency’s initiative that seeks to integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention. NIOSH anticipates that the workbook will help organizations identify and address job-related factors that may contribute to health problems; identify initial steps to improve work force safety, health, and well-being; and measure progress in TWH. The workbook describes examples of TWH approaches, and includes a self-assessment tool and resources to help organizations develop an “action plan” for TWH.
One of the resources is a new conceptual model called the “Hierarchy of Controls Applied to Total Worker Health,” which is intended as a companion to the traditional hierarchy of controls. According to NIOSH, the new model “expands the traditional hierarchy from occupational safety and health to include controls and strategies that more broadly advance worker well-being.”
The NIOSH workbook also introduces and explains the five “defining elements” of TWH, which include demonstrating leadership commitment to worker safety and health at all levels of an organization; designing work to eliminate or reduce safety and health hazards and promote worker well-being; promoting and supporting worker engagement throughout program design and implementation; ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of workers; and integrating relevant systems to advance worker well-being.