Developing recommendations for an integrated approach to workplace health protection and health promotion
Reasons for the study
Workplace health promotion (WHP) programs that also emphasize hazard correction through occupational health and safety (OHS) activities have greater worker participation rates and higher injury reduction rates than those that focus on OHS or worker health behavioural changes alone. As well, the coordination of OHS and WHP efforts is good resource stewardship. Rather than competing for resources, resources are pooled to the benefit of the broader organization.
In 2011, various international agencies endorsed an integrated approach to OHS and workplace wellness programs; the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Total Worker Health® approach is one example. Yet, little guidance is available to employers on how to implement an integrated strategy. This study helped fill that gap.
Objectives of the study
- Conduct a scoping review of existing peer-reviewed and non-academic literature, documenting existing approaches to the integration of OHS and WHP policies and practices
- Identify challenges, successes and outcomes of integrated approaches
- Integrate feedback and insight from researchers and partners to identify key processes and guiding principles that should be addressed by workplaces integrating OHS and WHP activities
Findings from this research provides guidance to employers—especially those represented by the project's partner organizations, which make up a sizeable proportion of the industry stakeholders important to Alberta's economic future—that can be implemented to enhance the safety and well-being of workers and sustain high levels of productivity through an integrated worker health approach.
Related scientific publications
- Biswas A, Begum M, Van Eerd D, Smith PM, Gignac MA. Organizational perspectives on how to successfully integrate health promotion activities into occupational health and safety. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2021;63(4):270-284. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000002087. (Open access)
- Biswas A, Dobson K, Gignac MA, de Oliveira C, Smith PM. Changes in work factors and concurrent changes in leisure time physical activity: a 12-year longitudinal analysis. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2020;77(5):309-315. doi:10.1136/oemed-2019-106158.
Related interviews and articles
- How can workplaces help promote exercise?. The Weekend Morning Show with Dave Trafford. November 21, 2021. Available from: https://www.iheartradio.ca/newstalk-1010/shows/the-weekend-morning-show-with-dave-trafford-1.377616
- Workplaces can help promote exercise, but job conditions remain a major hurdle. The Conversation. November 15, 2021. Available from: https://theconversation.com/workplaces-can-help-promote-exercise-but-job-conditions-remain-a-major-hurdle-170921
Related research summaries
- Physical activity levels and work factors over 12 years. Research Highlights: Institute for Work & Health, April 2020.
- Understanding the types of Ontario workplaces that offer both wellness and OHS programs. Research Highlights: Institute for Work & Health, June 2019.
IWH Speaker Series presentations
- Developing practical recommendations for integrating workplace safety and wellness initiatives. IWH Speaker Series. February 18, 2020.
Collaborators and partners
Alberta Health Services
Energy Safety Canada
Graham Lowe Group
Alberta OHS Future