I believe the occupational health and safety profession has a large role to play in the world.
Strong communities (and economies as a whole) depend on a safe, healthy, and productive workforce. Supporting the workforce with strong health and safety practices is a key factor in ensuring for ourselves a greater future.
Unfortunately, this future has been cast into doubt by an unsustainable model of healthcare.
Healthcare ate up almost 20% of United States GDP in 2016 and is steadily rising. That’s an astounding figure.
According to ACOEM, “Rising healthcare costs have resulted in lower wages, have led employers to reduce the health insurance benefits they offer to their workers, and have been difficult to control, putting periodic pressure on employer profits. They have also been the foremost contributor to national budget deficits.”
In other words, our current model of healthcare is bad for people, businesses, and the nation as a whole.
How should we respond to these alarming facts?
Like I said earlier, I believe the occupational health and safety profession has a large role to play in the world. We are in a position to make a difference and we should respond accordingly.
In 2012, NIOSH responded to these alarming trends with a program called “Total Worker Health (TWH)“. This program resonates with me because of how closely it aligns with our philosophy and practice of integrating ergonomics and preventive healthcare.
“The TWH approach seeks to improve well-being in the American workforce for the benefit of workers, employers, and the nation by protecting safety and enhancing health and productivity.”
The big idea behind the “total” approach is to integrate health protection and health promotion into a single strategy to advance worker well-being. The evidence base that supports the NIOSH TWH initiative is clear — an integrated approach is what is needed to put us on the path toward a more sustainable model of healthcare that works for people, businesses, and the nation.
So while we might not be able to control all of the factors that go into the complex healthcare problem, we do have an opportunity in front of us to take concrete steps toward a better workplace, better health outcomes, and a better future.
New Series: Total Musculoskeletal Health
Today’s post is the first in a series on total musculoskeletal health that will provide our engagement with, and innovations concerning, a comprehensive approach to managing musculoskeletal health in the workplace.
Over the next few weeks on the blog, we’ll walk through the following together:
What is Total Musculoskeletal Health?
Learn the definition of total musculoskeletal health, the evidence that supports the practice, and the economic factors that drive its adoption.
Optimize the work environment to match the capabilities and limitations of people through the art and science of ergonomics.
Deliver preventive healthcare upstream to promote musculoskeletal health where it delivers better outcomes and the highest value on your investment.
Shift the focus from treatment to prevention, turning musculoskeletal health from a cost center to a profit center.
Unlock human potential by giving people the opportunity to do their best work.
Total Musculoskeletal Health Management Tools
Get practical management tools you can use to drive adoption of your own total musculoskeletal health program.
To make sure you don’t miss out on each installment of the series, click here to sign up for free email updates. You’ll get updates delivered straight to your inbox — plus you’ll get access to an exclusive collection of ergonomics and injury prevention resources just for signing up.
See you next week!
Editor’s Note: Total Worker Health is a registered trademark of NIOSH.