Don’t Separate Workplace Wellness Initiatives from Safety and Health Programs

Some things are meant to work together. Just as you wouldn’t wear only one protective glove and leave the other sitting on the toolbox, incorporating workplace wellness initiatives into safety and health programs may result in a healthier, more productive workplace, new research reveals. “Workplace Health Protection and Promotion: A New Pathway for A Healthier – and Safer – Workforce,” a paper written by a task force from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) and published in JOEM, suggests that employers can gain a more powerful punch from their wellness programs if they are integrated into other safety and health initiatives. Researchers said that many employers make the mistake of viewing their safety/health protection programs and workplace wellness programs as two distinct activities, which they then separate into different “silos.” Isolating these programs, however, may not be the most effective approach. The paper argues that the “workplace health protection and promotion” concept can address this limitation by systematically integrating these two previously independent functions, thereby enhancing the overall health and well-being of the workforce while decreasing the likelihood of workplace injuries and illnesses. After all, the authors state, “both health protection and health promotion interventions are best achieved when they are working in concert.”
Hymel, P. A.; Loeppke, R. R.; Baase, C. M.; Burton, W. N.; Hartenbaum, N. P.; Hudson, T. W.; McLellan, R. K.; Mueller, K.L.; Roberts, M. A.; Yarborough, C. M.; Konicki, D.L.; Larson, P. W. Workplace health protection and promotion: a new pathway for a healthier and safer workforce,Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, June 2011, Vol. 53, no 6,  p 695–702


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