As defined by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Total Worker Health® is defined as 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 well-being.
Traditional occupational safety and health protection programs have and continue to focus efforts on ensuring that work is safe and that workers are protected from work-related hazards and working conditions that arise from work itself. The Total Worker Health (TWH) approach seeks to improve worker well-being for the benefit of workers and employers by protecting safety and enhancing health and productivity. As evidenced in research, work-related hazards and unhealthy work environments can contribute to or aggravate health problems experienced by workers such as, sleep disorders, stress, depression, and cardiovascular conditions.
The TWH approach integrates workplace interventions that protect worker safety and health with activities that advance the overall well-being of workers through the establishment and implementation of policies, programs, and practice. This includes, for example, addressing hazard prevention and control, work organisation and environmental supports, effective leadership, changing work and worker communities, fair and supportive policies, and worker advocacy.