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What Is Total Worker Health?

Posted by Simone Poulter | Dec 6, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Total Worker Health (TWH) is an innovative and holistic approach for workplaces to use to understand and deploy strategies that recognise the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and social well-being in the workplace.

In today's fast-paced and competitive world, the well-being of employees is more crucial than ever. Companies that prioritise the health and safety of their workforce not only cultivate a more satisfied and productive workforce but also enjoy long-term success. TWH should be considered essential for both employers and employees.

Total Worker Health (TWH) has been developed in the US by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) but can be applied by any business focusing on worker safety. It goes beyond traditional occupational safety and health programs by recognising that a worker's well-being encompasses more than just physical safety. It encompasses four key elements:

  1. Workplace Safety: This is the foundation of TWH, focusing on preventing accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Employers must provide a safe and hazard-free environment for their employees.

  2. Health Promotion: TWH also emphasises promoting healthy behaviors among workers. This includes initiatives such as smoking cessation programs, fitness challenges, and healthy eating options.

  3. Workplace Policies and Practices: Encouraging policies that support work-life balance, mental health, and employee engagement is crucial. Flexible schedules, telecommuting options, and stress management programs all contribute to a healthier work environment. 

  4. Employee Well-being: Finally, TWH recognises that the overall well-being of employees is vital. This includes addressing mental health issues, providing access to healthcare resources, and offering support for personal and family-related challenges. 

Many of Vanguard Wireless' evacuation system and nurse call system users operate in the construction space. For construction workers, until recently, a 6-7 day working week was the norm - and it’s been taking its toll on workers worldwide. However a change is afoot; in Australia NSW and Victoria now require tenderers on infrastructure projects to sign up to five-day work weeks, with the aim of promoting work-life balance and cutting the $8 billion in costs each year due to injury, mental health, suicide and higher-than-average death rates.

The industry is considering worker health by applying a culture standard to contracts that requires employers not to schedule work on Saturdays and limit working weeks to 55 hours. The culture standard also prioritises on-site mental health support, as well as providing amenities for women and enforcing that offensive material be removed from sites.

The industry has recognised that a worker's well-being encompasses more than just physical safety. This is a practice that can be adopted universally across all industries. 

Why Total Worker Health Matters

  1. Improved Employee Health: A focus on TWH leads to healthier employees. When workers are physically and mentally well, they are more productive and miss fewer workdays due to illness or injury.

  2. Enhanced Job Satisfaction: Employees who feel their employers care about their well-being are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. This can reduce turnover and increase employee loyalty.

  3. Increased Productivity: Healthy employees are more productive and engaged in their work. They are less likely to be absent or presenteeism (working while sick) and are more focused on their tasks.

  4. Reduced Healthcare Costs: Companies that invest in TWH often experience lower healthcare costs. Fewer medical claims and reduced insurance premiums contribute to significant savings.

  5. Better Organisational Reputation: Businesses that prioritise TWH are seen as socially responsible. This can boost their reputation among customers, partners, and potential employees.

Implementing Total Worker Health

To successfully implement Total Worker Health in your organisation, consider the following steps:

  1. Leadership Commitment: Leadership should be fully committed to TWH, both in words and actions. When leaders prioritise employee well-being, it sets the tone for the entire organisation.

  2. Assessment and Evaluation: Conduct a thorough assessment of your workplace to identify potential hazards, areas for improvement, and employee needs. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your TWH programs.

  3. Employee Involvement: Involve employees in the planning and implementation of TWH initiatives. Their input is invaluable in creating a workplace that truly supports their well-being. 

  4. Training and Education: Provide training and education on TWH principles to all employees. Make sure everyone understands the importance of workplace safety, health promotion, and well-being.

  5. Continuous Improvement: TWH is an ongoing process. Continuously seek ways to improve your programs and adapt to changing needs and circumstances. Consider how technology can play a part in achieving this. If you want to promote a culture of safety then you need to make sure your systems, equipment, and approaches are best in class. Such as installing a smart evacuation and nurse call system like Vanguard Wireless!

Total Worker Health is a forward-thinking approach that recognises that a healthy and happy workforce is the key to a successful and sustainable organisation. By prioritising the well-being of employees and creating a workplace that supports their physical, mental, and social health, companies can reap numerous benefits, from increased productivity to improved reputation.

In today's competitive business landscape, Total Worker Health isn't just a luxury; it's a necessity for long-term success.


To demonstrate your business is committed to improving worker health, consider a Vanguard Wireless evacuation system or nurse call system. We'll tailor a design to you and your worker's needs.

Topics: safetysystem, technology, workplacesafety, innovation, constructionsafety, nursecallsystemmelbourne, evacuationsystemmelbourne, evacuationsystemsydney, evacsystembrisbane, evacsiren, nursecallsystemconstruction, workerhealth, manualcallpoint

Written by Simone Poulter

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