Online Program

Integration of OSH and whp requires meaningful worker participation

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Laura Punnett, ScD, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Martin G. Cherniack, MD, Ergonomic Technology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
Nicholas Warren, ScD, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT
Nicole J. Champagne, EdD, Community Health and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
Pouran Faghri, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Background An integrated approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) and workplace health promotion (WHP) programs should give equal weight to both domains, which is not always done in practice. The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) addresses both employees' and organizational health. Objective We will present experiences from our intervention research and outreach to illustrate our conceptual paradigm, which reflects the social-ecological model, and to discuss the challenges and successes of an integrated approach. Methods and Results Efforts to recruit manufacturers met with enthusiasm at higher level but resistance from the units responsible for both loss control and employee wellness. A set of focus groups with low-wage Black and Latino workers highlighted many ways in which working conditions generate obstacles to healthy eating and exercise. In state corrections (public sector), our interventions have been successful enough to generate strong tri-partite participation, which even kept the project functioning during an un-funded year. Our research-to-practice toolkit is being adapted for the CDC's National Healthy Worksite Project as a model for implementing participatory processes to facilitate employee input into health goal-setting, program and design and evaluation, with the goal of enhanced effectiveness and longer-term sustainability. Conclusion(s) CPH-NEW emphasizes the contribution of work organization to health behaviors and draws heavily from participatory ergonomics for a framework to improve both physical and organizational features of work and, in the process, to empower individual workers (increase decision latitude and social support at work).

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of involving employees in program design Discuss strategies for overcoming barriers to participatory programs

Keyword(s): Occupational Health Programs, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am co-Director and Principal Investigator of the research center (CPH-NEW) within which this work has been carried out; I have participated in study and instrument design, data collection and analysis, interpretation and reporting.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.