Promising Practices for Total Worker Health®
Promising Practices for Total Worker Health (TWH) highlight real-world examples of how organizations see positive results using comprehensive workplace policies, programs, and practices. The examples on this page are from the “Total Worker Health in Action!” eNewsletter. Explore the tabs below to find Promising Practices from eNewsletters over the years.
If your organization is targeting the conditions of work to improve the safety, health, and well-being of workers on- and off-the-job, please email us at email@example.com. Your workplace could be featured as a Promising Practice.
Planting the Seeds of a New Comprehensive TWH Program
Topics: government, supportive leadership, workforce development, workplace culture
This Promising Practice features the work of Dr. Christian B. Rathke DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, Director of TWH in the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service within National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Learn more about this new role and how Dr. Rathke incorporates TWH approaches. Read more.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program: Training Curricula and Resources to Combat the Opioid and Substance Use Crises
Topics: substance use, training, government
CDC reported more than 103,000 overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending December 2021. Work-related injury, pain, and stress are all pathways to opioid use, misuse, and opioid use disorder. There is an urgent need to train workers and employers on how to prevent and respond to the opioid and substance use crises. Training is an essential step in getting employers, labor, and communities to start addressing these outcomes. Read more.
Worker Safety, Health, and Well-being at NIOSH: HealthiestNIOSH Leads by Example
Topics: supportive leadership, government, worker input
Have you ever wondered how NIOSH implements TWH approaches within its own workforce? After all, a defining element of the TWH approach is to demonstrate leadership commitment to worker safety and health at all levels and to give workers a strong voice in the work challenges and issues they care about most. The HealthiestNIOSH Program, sponsored jointly by the Office for TWH and NIOSH’s Human Resources Office, focuses on optimizing the safety, health, and well-being of all those working at NIOSH. Read more.
A Company Answers the Call to Address the Substance Use and Mental Health Needs of Its Workers
Topics: mental health, substance use
Following the death of his son to an opioid overdose in September 2016, Leidos employee John Hindman caught the attention of Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone. After a brief period of intense internal research and deliberation where additional Leidos employees shared similar experiences with opioid use disorder (OUD), the company launched the Leidos CEO Pledge to End Addiction. Read more.
Applying Total Worker Health Approaches in a Healthcare Setting
Topics: work design, healthcare
Eskenazi Health, a NIOSH TWH Affiliate, is a non-profit healthcare organization that employs workers in various conditions and settings. Organizations may have employees who are working from home, providing direct patient care in 12-hour shifts, or working in different departments, quickly learning new tasks to support patients with varying needs. Following the TWH model, Eskenazi Health focuses on caring for workers by continually addressing and improving their policies, programs, and practices. Read more.
Oregon Total Worker Health Alliance: Advancing TWH Professional Training
Topics: training, workforce development
In a 2019 issue of TWH in Action!, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) reported on the launch of the Total Worker Health training curriculum. Over the past 18 months, the Oregon Total Worker Health Alliance worked to adapt existing courses to a virtual format and to successfully train professionals and organizations in Total Worker Health (TWH) approaches. Read more.
Creating a Culture of Health: The Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA
Topics: community health, campus health, workplace culture, academic
Recognizing that universities have the capacity and responsibility to infuse health and well-being into campus culture, “healthy campus” efforts have grown around the country, including at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2013, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative (Semel HCI), envisioned and supported by Jane and Terry Semel. Semel HCI is now a Center at UCLA, partnering with diverse stakeholders across the campus to foster a culture of physical, emotional, and social well-being for the whole campus community. Read more.
Rested, Resilient, and Active: The HealthPartners Be Well Program
Topics: workplace culture, healthcare, measurement
HealthPartners, a NIOSH TWH Affiliate, is a 26,000-person healthcare payer, provider, and research organization serving six states through 16 single, separate employers. Building on a 30-year history of employee well-being, HealthPartners established Be Well in 2010. Be Well is a system-wide well-being program that helps colleagues be more rested, resilient, and active. Read more.
Under the Hard Hat: Addressing Mental Health in the Construction Industry
Topics: mental health, substance use, industry, construction
The construction industry experiences some of the highest rates of suicide. One in five adults experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and 57% of construction workers have experienced a mental health issue during their career in the industry. To address this concern, Willis Towers Watson partnered with Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) to develop a state-of-the-art mental health education and suicide prevention training program. Read more.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health: Helping Employers Navigate New Challenges through the Project ECHO Model
Topics: mental health, substance use, healthcare, training
Since 2017, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health’s Department of Population Health has been working across the health system and with community partners to improve the health of patients, employees, and communities. The organization has consistently been heralded as a leader in health care and was one of the first Total Worker Health Affiliates. In early 2019, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) Population Health established a Project ECHO hub as a learning infrastructure for clinicians and community organizations to share knowledge and improve clinical and non-clinical determinants of health. Read more.
A Strategic Community-Level Approach to Worker Health: Healthy Workplaces in Madison County, New York
Topics: community health, government
Leaders in public health have recognized the impact of the workforce on a community. For instance, the Surgeon General recently highlighted the value of worker well-being to a community, and both the National Academies of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation lead initiatives encouraging business engagement in community health. Recognizing the impact that healthy workforces can have on population health, the Department of Health in Madison County, New York, launched a Healthy Workplaces Initiative. Read more.
Healthy Parks, Healthy Communities, Healthy Nation: The National Park Service
Topics: community health, workplace culture, government, strategy, worker input
From the lowest point in the United States to the highest point, from remote islands to the nation’s capital, the National Park Service (NPS) has over 400 park areas and regional and program offices, employing more than 22,000 permanent and seasonal workers. To reduce on-the-job injuries and fatalities and to ensure employee satisfaction, the NPS has released the Safety, Health, and Wellness Strategy, which follows the Total Worker Health® approach of embedding worker well-being into the organizational culture. Read More
Award-winning Culture and Support system for Police Well-being
Topics: work design, mental health, government, public safety, emergency response
The City of Bend (Oregon) Police Department recognized that law enforcement officers are exposed to many hazards and job stressors, such as night shift, physical work, dangerous work, and traumatic events. These lead to increased risk for mental illness and suicide, as well as heart disease and workplace injuries. With over 100 sworn officers serving a city of more than 90,000 people, the Department developed a comprehensive, multi-pronged initiative that has already started to produce positive outcomes. Read More
Creating Value at Dow Chemical Through Total Worker Health Initiatives
Topics: supportive leadership, work design, industry
The Dow Chemical Company, a global manufacturer and supplier of raw materials with approximately 54,000 employees in 300 sites in 49 countries, has identified employee safety and health as a strategic priority for the company. As part of this priority, a comprehensive system based on Total Worker Health® (TWH) addresses the complex challenges of advancing the well-being of the company’s employees. According to Thomas John Bender, MD, PhD, Dow’s Occupational Physician and Epidemiologist, the company recognizes that employee health is essential to the company’s sustainability. In fact, the company includes TWH implementation in its 2025 Sustainability Goals and reports regularly on progress in its sustainability reports. Read More
From PPE to ping-pong: How an Oregon workers’ compensation company leads the way to safer, healthier work
Topics: injury prevention, supportive leadership
When you think about dangerous jobs, you might think about commercial fishermen, loggers, and airline pilots. Insurance company employees or call center workers? Not so much. But just because workers sit at a desk all day, it doesn’t mean they’re not at risk of getting hurt. Read More
Working Toward Healthier Supervision at NIOSH
Topics: supportive leadership, government
At NIOSH, protecting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of diverse worker populations around the globe is a critical part of our work. But if we are really serious about this work, we strongly feel that we must apply the principles that we recommend to other organizations within our own Institute. Importantly, NIOSH workers get the opportunity to regularly provide feedback about their work environment and overall experiences through an annual survey given in all Federal workplaces. This showed that NIOSH employees wanted to see improvements in the way team leaders, managers, and supervisors fulfill their duties. A growing body of research shows that a worker’s direct-line supervisor has significant impact on an employee’s safety, morale, work experiences and performance, and even their overall health—both on and off the job.
In response, NIOSH’s internal TWH-focused program, Healthiest NIOSH, created a customized Healthier Supervision training for all workers in supervisory roles at NIOSH. Read More
A Safety Redesign Jump-Starts Health and Well-Being for L.L.Bean’s Aging Workforce
Topics: injury prevention, aging, warehousing
At L.L.Bean, Maine’s quintessential outdoor clothing and equipment company, the workforce is growing older. Although advancing age improves problem-solving and teamwork skills, it also adds risk, especially for older workers with physically demanding tasks. Acknowledging this truth helped L.L.Bean look beyond its established safety and health infrastructure, says Deborah Roy, MPH, RN, COHN-S, CSP, Corporate Director for Health, Safety, and Wellness. The company began taking decisive steps to optimize work processes and prevent injury and illness for all their workers, not only their older ones. Read More
Small Businesses, Big Impact: The Nebraska Safety Council/WorkWell
Topics: community health
The Nebraska Safety Council/WorkWell (NeSC) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all of Nebraska with a mission to “provide leadership and resources to promote a safe and healthy environment in our workplace and community.” With around 35% of its membership represented by small enterprises, NeSC seeks creative ways to meet the needs of their members. Read More
Innovating an Integrated Path Forward at Alcoa
Topics: work design, industry, manufacturing
Alcoa, a global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering, and manufacturing, is making strides in integrating health protection and health promotion. It is incorporating NIOSH’s Essential Elements into several of its initiatives. Read more
The Future of Integrated Practice, Education: Western Kentucky University Curriculum
Topics: training, academic
Recognizing the emerging need for a workforce that can understand the potential synergy between safety, injury prevention, and worker health and well-being efforts, Western Kentucky University (WKU) has begun offering educational programs that encourage students to integrate worker health and well-being into occupational safety and vice versa. Read More
Johnson & Johnson: Keeping Our Business Strong
Topics: supportive leadership, injury prevention
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) already had a robust culture of safety in 1978 when the company developed a vision to also have the healthiest workforce in the world. Over 30 years later, J&J continues to protect and promote the health of its 128,000 workers in 60 countries. J&J leaders recognize that strong safety performance must be ongoing and requires constant nurturing and support. Similarly, worker health and well-being efforts require reenergizing the population and renewing the motivation of employees and families to participate. Through leadership commitment, integration of safety and health into their strategic framework, and extending workplace injury prevention to the home, J&J has achieved demonstrable impacts on the health and safety of its workforce. Read More
Building Momentum in Kentucky for Integration of Health Protection and Health Promotion
Topics: injury prevention, community health, academic
In Kentucky, a multipronged approach to integration is being used. Current efforts in the state range from business outreach to pilot intervention programs in the community, and from joint meetings of safety and health and well-being leaders to instilling principles of integration in future practitioners. The overall vision is to bring worksite safety and health together with injury prevention, connect with the community, and create a statewide plan. Read More
Health, Safety, and Well-Being: Corporate Strategy at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Topics: workplace culture, work design, healthcare
In 2009, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, an academic medical center in New Hampshire with over 8,000 employees, needed to make a change. Covering over 16,000 in its health plans, health care costs were almost 10% of the medical center’s budget and rising faster than health care inflation rates each year. While collaborative, the employee health and safety departments were in different silos and recognized there were opportunities to create synergies with each other’s initiatives. Another challenge was that the medical center had different locations and clinic sites. The leadership of Dartmouth-Hitchcock decided that it could do better and would aim to have the healthiest workforce possible—a goal which the medical center adopted as the corporate vision to ensure sustainability and engagement at every level. As a result, the strategic priority, Live Well/Work Well (LWWW), was created with a mission to create a culture of health, safety, and well-being. Read more
Totally Engaged in Hearing Loss Prevention
Topics: injury prevention, hearing
Domtar and 3M were specifically recognized with a Safe-in-Sound Excellence Award® for the comprehensive integration of their hearing loss prevention program beyond the traditional occupational work environment into recreational and community activities enjoyed by their workers, their families, and their neighbors. These plants are leading examples of the effort toward “total worker hearing health” and each is investing in the hearing health of future employees. Both employers recognized the specific non-occupational noise exposures encountered by their workforce and took steps to provide training and hearing protection devices specific to the local sound hazards. read more
State Workers’ Compensation Program Taking a Lead on Workplace Wellness
Topics: injury prevention, government, workers’ compensation
In 2010, 25 to 29 percent of Ohio’s adult population was considered obese (body mass index equal to or greater than 30) and the largest percent of Ohio’s workforce was between the ages of 45 to 54. While these statistics are comparable to what is occurring nationwide, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC) is leading the way for Total Worker Health®. Helping employers improve the health and wellness of their workers, OBWC established a Workers’ Compensation Workplace Wellness Grant Program in 2012. The program’s goal is to limit and control the escalating cost of workers’ compensation claims by helping employers develop health and well-being programs for their employees. read more
Erickson Living Extends Care to Employees and Integrates Employee Health and Wellness
Topics: work design, supportive leadership, healthcare
Erickson Living is a full spectrum retirement community with 16 campuses in 9 states. These communities offer everything from independent apartment living to complete nursing facility care – and provide special features such as wellness classes, exercise facilities, healthy dining options and access to a personal trainer for their residents. While Erickson Living community had long been known for helping residents reach their health and well-being potential, they recently figured out how to provide this same opportunity to their dedicated employees. Read more
BJC HealthCare, Help for Your Health
Topics: workplace culture, injury prevention, healthcare
BJC HealthCare is a nonprofit health care organization that serves residents in the greater St. Louis, southern Illinois and mid-Missouri regions. Long known for providing excellent healthcare services to their patients, BJC’s leadership recognized a need to commit the same level of attention and care to their own workers’ health and well-being. In 2003, the company launched their “Help for Your Health” program to encourage employees to learn about and improve their health by reducing lifestyle-related risk factors. At the same time, their occupational health and safety team refocused their efforts and took a proactive stance to prioritize the prevention and control of work related injuries and illness. Read more