Key points

  • Total Worker Health® research plays a critical role in preparing employers to address challenges to ensuring safe, health-enhancing work.
  • Examples of these challenges include a rapidly evolving economy and technology, remote work, and precarious employment.
people around a table reviewing papers


The Total Worker Health approach encourages integrating organizational policies, programs, and practices that contribute to worker safety, health, and well-being. Research on the approach builds the evidence base for an integrated, holistic approach to worker well-being.

Why it matters

Research shows that exposures on and off the job can act together to produce worker illness and injury. The Total Worker Health approach promotes research into patterns of work organization and emerging forms of employment. The developing scientific evidence base can help businesses and communities reduce the impact and cost of injuries and illness. This can help control healthcare costs and disruption to family and community life.


This National Agenda intends to define and prioritize Total Worker Health related research, practice, and prevention activities for 2016-2026. However, research efforts remain flexible to focus on emerging threats. Learn more about the vision for Total Worker Health focused research in this article on the third decade of the program.

Funded partners

NIOSH-funded research continues to generate evidence supporting Total Worker Health approaches to improve worker well-being and reduce workplace challenges. NIOSH funds ten Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health. The research conducted at these Centers generates new knowledge and informs novel approaches for addressing challenges faced by employers today.

Implementation strategies

The Centers of Excellence and Affiliates test the process and feasibility of Total Worker Health approaches in real-world environments. Interventions are designed to improve worker safety, health, and well-being in high-risk industries. They can also reduce healthcare costs when adopted on a broad scale.

Listed below are some of the many ways that the Centers implement the Total Worker Health approach:

  • Pilot test promising workplace policies and programs
  • Develop and distribute best practices and tool kits
  • Create strategies to overcome barriers for adoption of work-based interventions
  • Investigate costs and benefits associated with integrated programs
  • Increase the development and application of biological markers of stress, sleep, and depression
  • Examine the relationships between workplace policies and practices and worker health outcomes


To learn more about research efforts, visit the partnerships page or email