A recent article from the University of Iowa’s Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (HWCMW) summarizes the Total Worker Health methodological and measurement approaches currently in use and suggests promising new research practices.
Total Worker Health (TWH) is a holistic approach to worker well-being. Funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), it encompasses policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker health.
The article, published in the November 2018 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, summarizes the findings of a workshop which convened experts to review methods and outcomes currently used to assess TWH interventions.
According to co-author Diane Rohlman, associate professor of occupational and environmental health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and director of the HWCMW, the article summarizes promising research measures, methods, and practices, and also identifies gaps in this evolving field of study.
“We saw that when designing programs to promote health and safety in the workplace, one size does necessarily fit all,” Rohlman says. “Researchers must be open to new and novel approaches as this area of study continues to evolve and new issues are addressed.”
The authors hope the article can serve as a guide for researchers as they design and develop future TWH interventions.
The article states that stakeholders should make a greater case for—and support—studies using qualitative and mixed-methods approaches, using both well-established and innovative techniques. These types of studies enable researchers to identify promising practices in Total Worker Health that can reduce injury and illness in workplaces.
The full article is available online.