Occupational Health – Workplace Health Management

In the past, policy was often driven by compliance with legislation. The new approach to workplace management of health management is based on both legislative requirements as well as health targets that are set by each industry’s working community. Effective Workplace Health Management must be based on the knowledge, experience, and practice gained in three disciplines: workplace health promotion, occupational health, and environmental health. WHM should be seen as not only a means of continuous improvement and community health, but also as a framework for collaboration between different agencies. It provides a platform for cooperation between local authorities and business leaders in the development of communities through improved public and environmental health.

A Healthy Workplace Setting – A cornerstone of the Community Action Plan

WHP is defined in the Luxembourg Declaration of European Union Network for Workplace Health Promotion as the collective effort of employers and employees to improve the health, well-being and productivity of workers

You can achieve this by combining:

  • Improvement of the work environment and organization
  • Encourage employees to be active participants in health activities
  • Encouraging personal development

The EU network Luxembourg Declaration describes workplace health promotion as a modern corporate strategy that aims to prevent ill-health and promote health and well-being. Workplace programs have been shown to reduce absenteism, lower cardiovascular risk, reduced claims for health care, decreased staff turnover and decreased musculoskeletal injury. They also offer the possibility of increased productivity, greater organizational effectiveness, and a potential return on investment.

Many of these improvements are possible only if employees, employers, and the society involved in the activities necessary to make a difference. Empowering employees allows them to take control of their health. Occupational Health Advisors are well-equipped to conduct needs assessments for health promotion initiatives with their working populations, to prioritize them alongside other occupational safety and health initiatives, and coordinate activities at the enterprise level so that the planned initiatives are implemented. For many years, occupational health services were involved in the assessment and evaluation of fitness for work as well as the assessment of levels of disability for insurance purposes.

Some occupational health services have developed the concept of maintaining work ability in otherwise healthy workers. These efforts were made in some cases to address the increasing challenges posed by the aging workforce as well as the rising cost of social insurance. OHA’s are often at the forefront these developments.

It is important to increase the emphasis of occupational health services in order to promote workability and prevent non-occupational workplace avoidable conditions. Some occupational health services will need to be more proactive in workplace health promotion without decreasing the focus on occupational diseases and accidents. OHA’s are able to plan, deliver, and evaluate workplace health promotion and maintenance programs.