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Safety Nugget Week of February 26 - Total Worker Health< Back to Blog

Feb 27, 2018
By: K. Vennavelli
Categories: Safety


A Total Worker Health approach prioritizes a hazard-free work environment for all workers. It applies a prevention approach that is consistent with traditional occupational safety and health prevention principles of the Hierarchy of Controls.

Eliminating or reducing recognized hazards in the workplace first, including those related to the organization of work itself, is the most effective means of prevention and thus is foundational to all Total Worker Health (TWH) principles. Workplace programs that adopt a TWH approach emphasize elimination or control of workplace hazards and other contributors to poor safety, health, and well-being.

The Hierarchy of Controls Applied to NIOSH Total Worker Health serves to illustrate how Total Worker Health approaches emphasize organizational-level interventions to protect workers’ safety, health, and well-being. To apply this model:

  1. Begin by eliminating workplace conditions that cause or contribute to worker illness and injury, or otherwise negatively impact well-being. This includes factors related to supervision throughout the management chain.
  2. Second, replace unsafe, unhealthy working conditions or practices with safer, health-enhancing policies, programs, and management practices that improve the culture of safety and health in the workplace.
  3. Next, redesign the work environment, where needed, for safety, health and well-being. Remove impediments to well-being, enhance employer-sponsored benefits, and provide flexible work schedules.
  4. Then, provide safety and health education and resources to enhance individual knowledge for all workers.
  5. Lastly, encourage personal change for improvements to health, safety and well-being. Assist workers with individual risks and challenges; provide support for healthier choice-making.



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