The success of any business is closely tied to the health and well-being of its workforce. Therefore, the Total Worker Health (TWH) approach is an asset to any company looking to expand its boundaries and advance its product. TWH prioritizes efforts towards worker health, safety, and well-being. This article will take abstract commitments to direct actions by offering 5 tactics of implementing Total Worker Health at your organization.

Leadership

It’s crucial for company administration to express an organizational commitment to TWH, reflected in both words and actions. This commitment should be on all levels of the company where accountability and respect cascade from higher levels of leadership and where all workers are encouraged to participate.

With strong leadership and when all levels of an organization are on the same page, it allows for the free exchange of ideas and initiatives and efficient communication between leadership and the workforce.

Elimination

The best way to support and advocate for worker health and well-being is by direct elimination or reduction of workplace hazards. By identifying common causes of workplace injuries, administration can begin implementing changes that prevent injuries from occurring. The Hierarchy of Controls offers clear steps into how hazards should be handled with elimination being the most effective.

Image courtesy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Redesign

Company commitment to worker health and well-being should be represented in the design of programs and policies throughout the workplace with the involvement of all workers. Programs should be designed with a long-term outlook that reflects the core values of the company in order to see long-term results.

Moreover, a participatory approach helps in identifying the issues most pertinent to frontline workers, uncovers potential barriers between leadership and workforce, and increases employee buy-in and participation. All of which contribute to the sustainability of TWH initiatives.

Protection

Alongside creating a hazard-free environment, companies must also commit to protecting the privacy of all workers. In implementing the TWH approach, redesign and open communication require workers to share sensitive safety and health information. Consider de-identifying worker data by using encrypted systems with strong, secured passwords. Disclosure of a worker’s private information can lead to stigma, discrimination, and financial repercussions. 

Discrimination and penalization against workers based on their individual health conditions go directly against the TWH approach. In fact, TWH promotes innovative solutions that support all workers regardless of their differences.

Integration

Implementing a TWH approach at any organization is a large feat, costing large amounts of time in communication, analysis, and design. However, by integrating approaches from all areas of the company can help save time and resources while ultimately increasing effectiveness.

Start by conducting a preliminary assessment of existing policies related to worker safety, health, and well-being. Next, identify the effectiveness of those policies and any overlap between those areas while noting opportunities for improvement. Lastly, be intentional about meetings that bring together leadership and workers that have overlapping responsibilities. 

Conclusion

Leadership. Elimination. Redesign. Protection. Integration. By following the steps laid out in this article, Total Worker Health will become an achievable, regular practice that develops alongside the company. On top of that, TWH fosters a work environment of improved morale and worker trust by valuing their health and well-being. Continue following HFit for articles regarding TWH and role of ergonomics in creating a hazard-free work environment.

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