Workplace Health Management (WHM) There are four key components of workplace health management:
- Occupational Health and Safety
- Workplace Health Promotion
- Social and lifestyle determinants of health
- Environmental Health Management
In the past policy was frequently driven strictly by compliance with legislation. In the new approach to workplace health management, policy development is driven by both legislative requirements and by health targets set on a voluntary basis by the working community within each industry. In order to be effective Workplace Health Management needs to be based on knowledge, experience and practice accumulated in three disciplines: occupational health, workplace health promotion and environmental health. It is important to see WHM as a process not only for continuous improvement and health gain within the company, but also as framework for involvement among various agencies in the community. It offers a platform for co-operation between the local authorities and business leaders on community development through the improvement of public and environmental health.
The Healthy Workplace setting – a cornerstone of the Community Action Plan.
The Luxembourg Declaration of the European Union Network for Workplace Health Promotion defined WHP as the combined effort of employers, employees and society to improve the health and well-being of people at work
This can be achieved through a combination of:
- Improving the work organization and the working environment
- Promoting active participation of employees in health activities
- Encouraging personal development
Workplace health promotion is seen in the EU network Luxembourg Declaration as a modern corporate strategy which aims at preventing ill-health at work and enhancing health planning potential and well-being in the work. Documented benefits for workplace programs include reduced abseteeism, reduced cardiovascular risk, reduced health care claims, reduced staff turnover, reduced musculoskeletal injuries, increased productivity, increased organizational effectiveness and the potential of a return on investment.
However, many of these improvements require the sustained involvements of employees, employers and society in the activities required to make a difference. This is achieved through the empowerment of employees enabling them to make decisions about their own health. Occupational Health Advisors (OHA) are well placed to carry out needs assessment for health promotion initiatives with the working populations that serve, to prioritize these initiatives alongside other occupational health and safety initiatives which may be underway, and to coordinate the activities at the enterprise level to ensure that initiatives which are planned are delivered. In the past occupational health services have been involved in the assessment of fitness to work and in assessing levels of disability for insurance purposes for many years.
The concept of maintaining working ability, in the other healthy working population, has been developed by some innovative occupational health services. In some cases these efforts have been developed in response to the growing challenge caused by the aging work and the ever-increasing cost of social security. OHA's have often been at the forefront of these developments.
There is a need to develop further the focus of all occupational health services to include efforts to maintain work ability and to prevent …