Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Program

Updated March 21, 2022

Woman sitting at desk using laptop, medical setting showing patient and healthcare workers, and worker holding ladder and hard hat.

The mission of the Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Cross-Sector Program is to protect and advance worker safety, health, and well-being by improving the design of work, management practices, and the physical and psychosocial work environment.

Featured Items

3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®
The 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®external icon  will bring together an audience of safety and health professionals, employers, researchers, policymakers, labor representatives, and members of the academic community. The symposium will be held October 11-14, 2022, at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Those in attendance will examine opportunities to make workplaces safer and improve the health and well-being of the global workforce.

NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ)
The NIOSH Worker Well-being Questionnaire (WellBQ) is a publicly available, no-cost survey assessment tool to measure the well-being status of workers.


The Healthy Work Design and Well Being (HWD) Program’s holistic perspective focuses on how work affects overall health and well-being, including physical, psychological, social, and economic aspects. The HWD program accomplishes its mission through basic, surveillance, intervention, and translation research related to systems, programs, policies, and practices that improve the health and lives of workers, enabling them to thrive and contribute productively at work, at home, and in society. Current focal areas include, working hours and fatigue, non-standard work arrangements, and occupational stress. HWD seeks to promote evidence-based, comprehensive approaches to advance worker well-being, including Total Worker Health® (TWH).

Research Priorities

The Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Program has selected research priorities on the basis of burden, need, and impact and collaborated with other NIOSH research programs to write research goals included in the NIOSH Strategic Plan for FYs 2019-2024. The priority areas of HWD research include:

  • Reduce injuries and illnesses related to precarious employment arrangements, work design, fatigue and mental health in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing sector
  • Reduce injuries and illnesses among temporary workers and other workers in non-standard work arrangements in the Construction sector.
  • Improve occupational safety and health through work design in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector, especially reducing adverse stress-induced physical & mental health outcomes (e.g., anxiety, depression, fatigue, burnout, suicide & substance use disorders)
  • Reduce fatigue-related injuries workers in the Mining sector
  • Prevent injuries associated with work organization factors that contribute to fatigue, prescription drugs (including opioids), illicit drugs, and substance use/misuse in the Oil and Gas Extraction sector.
  • Improve safety and health among contingent workers and workers in non-standard work arrangements in the Services sector
  • Improve work design in the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sector to address obesity and chronic disease, fatigue-related injuries, and injuries associated with human-machine interaction
  • Improve work design in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector to reduce musculoskeletal disorders and reduce injuries and illnesses among contingent workers, young workers, and other workers who have been economically and socially marginalized
  • Effectively integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being (i.e. Total Worker Health [TWH] approach) in the Construction, Healthcare and Social Assistance, Public Safety, and Services sectors

The HWD Program Performance One-Pager (PPOP) offers a snapshot of HWD’s priorities, strategies used to make progress towards priorities, recent accomplishments, and upcoming work.

To learn more

More information on specific workplace safety and health topics and useful resources can be found on the following topic pages:

The NIOSH Science Blog provides an opportunity to learn about various workplace safety and health topics and exchange ideas with leading researchers from NIOSH. Check out NIOSH Science Blogs about Healthy Work Design and Well-Being.

The NIOSH Total Worker Health® webinar series addresses the complex, often interlinked hazards affecting the safety, health, and well-being of today’s workforce. View recordings of previous webinars and register for upcoming webinars.

NIOSHTIC-2 search results on healthy work design and well-being. NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH. Due to the search strategy used to capture the breadth of our focus area, a small number of the publications listed may not be HWD-related.

National Occupational Research Agenda Council (NORA)
The HWD Program helps lead the NORA Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Cross-Sector Council, which brings together individuals and organizations to share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of solutions that work. The council seeks to facilitate the most important research, understand the most effective intervention strategies, and learn how to implement those strategies to achieve sustained improvements in workplace practice. The final version of the research agenda for the HWD council can be found here.

Contact the HWD Program at

Page last reviewed: March 21, 2022, 10:30 AM