Launch of National Agenda to Advance Total Worker Health

April 26, 2016
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Nura Sadeghpour (202) 245-0673

Last week, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched its National Occupational Research Agenda to advance Total Worker Health® research, practice, policy, and capacity-building for the next ten years.

The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is a partnership forum that stimulates innovative research and enhances workplace practices. Participation in NORA is broad, and stakeholders with diverse interests collaborate to identify the most critical issues in workplace safety and health.  

In September 2014, the Office for Total Worker Health published a draft version of the National Total Worker Health Agenda for consideration and invited stakeholder input on its top priority issues; seeking public comment is a hallmark of the NORA process. The Agenda for 2016-2026 was developed after responding to stakeholder input, expanding the definition of Total Worker Health, and fine tuning what it means for a workplace to place priority upon a hazard-free work environment that protects the safety and health of all workers.

“For almost 20 years, NORA has been the occupational safety and health research framework for NIOSH and the Nation,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Now we add a National Agenda for Total Worker Health and thank all the stakeholders who contributed their ideas to the draft agenda.”

In order to fully integrate worker protection elements, NIOSH accordingly defines Total Worker Health (TWH) 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. This definition further clarifies the TWH concept and moves beyond promoting occupational safety and health as a wellness program, allowing for a fuller strategy to meet the needs of the 21st Century workforce.

The Agenda includes four strategic goals, grouped into the following domains: Research, Practice, Policy, and Capacity-Building. The goals in this Agenda are based on the more urgent needs in the emerging field of TWH:

  1. Research: Conduct etiologic, surveillance, and intervention research that builds support for how to effectively integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.
  2. Practice: Increase the implementation of evidence-based 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.
  3. Policy: Increase adoption of policies that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.
  4. Capacity-Building: Build capacity to strengthen the TWH workforce and TWH field to support the development, growth, and maintenance of 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.

The intended audience for the Agenda includes researchers, occupational safety and health practitioners, health promotion professionals, workers, employers, labor organizations, health care providers, educators, policymakers and others with a vested interest in the safety and health of workers.

The full document, The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), National Total Worker Health Agenda (2016–2026), A National Agenda to Advance Total Worker Health Research, Practice, Policy, and Capacity can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/twh/nationalagenda.html.  

For more information about NORA, see:  https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora/default.html. To learn more about Total Worker Health visit: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/TWH/.

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/.

TOTAL WORKER HEALTH® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Page last reviewed: April 26, 2016