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The business case for managing worker safety and health.

Pana-Cryan-R; Caruso-CC; Boiano-JM
State of the Sector | Healthcare and Social Assistance: Identification of Research Opportunities for the Next Decade of NORA. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2009-139, Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2009 Aug; :123-137
The holistic approach advocated by the integration of OSHMS with business systems aims to help employers and society overall better understand and quantify the frequently hidden costs and consequences of occupational safety and health interventions. Several ongoing efforts, best practices, and initiatives support this holistic and integrated approach and include (a) the consistent use of CDC's economic evaluation methodology; (b) improved systems of measuring and tracking of fundamental occupational safety and health indicators and related economic indicators; and (c) a process to identify the full range of relevant costs and consequences through a better understanding of the importance of indirect costs, WorkLife issues, work organization issues, and Prevention through Design. As we accumulate knowledge, we need to focus on translating evidence-based solutions to improved and wide-spread practice and policy. For example, we need to understand if and how we can transfer knowledge from evidence-based, cost-effective best practices, such as the use of patient-lifting devices in nursing homes, into practice and policy applicable to home healthcare environments. Future challenges for healthcare and social assistance include chronic understaffing and long hours due to shortages in healthcare professions; an aging workforce in the face of increasing demand for services; potential exposures of first receivers to unknown hazardous agents; emerging infectious diseases such as SARS and avian influenza; exposure to a variety of antibiotic-resistant pathogens; a dramatic increase in workplace violence perpetrated by clients, their families, and coworkers; and increase use of high-hazard chemicals and other potentially hazardous new technologies [NIOSH 2007]. These challenges make a compelling case in favor of integrated, comprehensive OSHMS to address spill-over effects from one system to the other, whether they are work and personal life, work and community or environmental health, or business objectives and occupational safety and health objectives. Future challenges also make the need for effective translation to practice and policy more urgent. For instance, we need to understand if and how we can transfer best practices learned from patient lifting devices to increasingly complex environments and take appropriate action.
Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Work-practices; Infection-control; Injury-prevention; Work-organization; Work-environment; Worker-health
Publication Date
Document Type
Book or book chapter
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NTIS Accession No.
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
State of the Sector | Healthcare and Social Assistance: Identification of Research Opportunities for the Next Decade of NORA.