Since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been working to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for every working man and woman in the Nation, according to OSHA’s mission statement. For 44 years, OSHA has relied upon their federal regulations to move the mission forward. Today, other major operating components of the federal government are looking to join the mission.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently introduced the Total Worker Health strategy. The strategy, according to CDC and NIOSH, is to integrate occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being. The intention is to publish a National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) on the topic with four strategic goals for the Nation;
1. Research to build an evidence base for integrating health protection and health promotion activities in the workplace.
2. Practice awareness and adoption in the workplace to promote safety and health protection and health promotion.
3. Policy guidance that promotes integrated safety and health protection and health promotion activities in the workplace.
4. Capacity building of professionals to further the agenda of Total Worker Health.
According to the National Total Worker Health Agenda published by the CDC and NIOSH, “a small, but growing body of evidence suggests that integrating occupational safety and health protection program activities with health promotion program activities is more effective for safeguarding worker safety, health, and well-being than either of these programmatic activities on their own.”
The Total Worker Health Agenda may be one of the most advanced efforts to protect workers in the Nation since the creation of OSHA. An effort to integrate safety and health protection with health promotion will become more relevant as workplaces face changes in employment trends, healthcare, and employee benefits. Read the complete Proposed National Total Worker Health Agenda here; http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docket/review/docket275/pdfs/NationalTWHAgendaFinalDraft9_5_14.pdf
Author: Cullen Wise, CSP
Vice President, Risk Control