Workplace health promotion is a comprehensive and integrated approach to health that focuses on the general population in a workplace. It can be defined as “the combined efforts of employers, employees and society to improve the health and wellbeing of people at work. This is achieved through a combination of improving the working environment, promoting the active participation of employees in health activities and encouraging personal development” (AHS 2017). Building partnerships is an essential key in creating sustainable workplace health programs. Comprehensive workplace health promotion is an approach that protects and enhances the health of employees. This type of approach builds a healthy workplace culture by building supportive management at all levels, along with collective employee efforts to care for their own well-being.
There are 4 aspects to comprehensive workplace health promotion:
- Occupational health and safety
- Healthy lifestyle practices
- Organisational culture
- Organisational Social Responsibility.
This approach builds a healthy workplace culture by building supportive management at all levels, along with collective efforts to care for their own well-being
Occupational health and safety
Occupational health and safety refers to efforts to reduce the physical and chemical hazards in a work environment, with the goal of reducing work related injuries, illnesses and disabilities. Many activities fall under this category, including ergonomic practices, injury prevention, hazard identification and control, emergency response planning, disability case management and medical services.
Healthy lifestyle practices describe an individual’s efforts to promote their own health through actions such as physical activity, reducing use of alcohol and/or other drugs, reducing sedentary behaviours in the workplace and at home or healthy eating. Workplaces can also support these practices by encouraging or supporting employees to act upon or change their personal health practices. This can be done by offering opportunities such as on-site fitness classes during the lunch hour or confidential health coaching services. Workplaces can also support voluntary health practices with workplace policies such as fatigue management, healthy food choices, drug and alcohol use, and vacation and overtime.
Organisational culture refers to the social environment, as perceived and experienced by employees, and focuses on improving the Organisational working environment. Elements within an organisational environment include leadership style, management practices, employee autonomy and control, and social support. Workplace infrastructure can provide and promote support networks that encourage healthy behaviour at the individual and organisational levels.
Safety culture results from a combination of organisational “cultures” which includes: (1) An informed culture; (2) a reporting culture (3) a just culture; (4) a learning culture. These aspects of safety culture require an understanding and application of risk management following ergonomic principles and methods. A key element of safety culture is the manner in which an organisation disseminates the correct information about risks and hazards associated with jobs, task and the work environment.
Organisational Social Responsibility.
Recently, the importance of Organisational Social Responsibility has also been recognised. This refers to the participation in the community to improve the health of workers, their families and other members of the community (e.g. volunteering during work hours, controlling pollutants, fundraising for charities.
Alberta Health services (AHS 2017) http://betterhealthbetterbusiness.ca/