07/27/2010

Workplace Health Promotion improves productivity and well-being

Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) leads to better health, reduced absenteeism,
enhanced motivation, and improved productivity: that is the message behind the
Workplace Health Promotion project of the European Agency for Safety and Health
at Work (EU-OSHA). Employers have an important role to play in encouraging
workers to adopt healthy lifestyles. In addition to the health benefits for
workers, every Euro invested in WHP leads to a Return on Investment (ROI) of
between 2,5 - 4,8 Euros due to reduced absenteeism costs.

According to EU-OSHA Director Jukka Takala, 'supporting a healthy lifestyle
pays off for everyone. It benefits employees themselves and their employers,
but it also helps the wider society, by reducing the burden on healthcare
systems. And with an ageing working population, the importance of Workplace
Health Promotion schemes is only going to increase - we need to help people
stay healthier for longer, and to achieve this we need employers and employees
to work together, to create a healthy working culture.'

Health promotion measures support workplace risk prevention, but do not replace
proper safety and health management. There is no point in implementing a WHP
programme without also offering a safe and healthy working environment. WHP is
based on a healthy culture first of all ensuring that all legal requirements
are respected. Carrying out WHP activities both organisational and individual
level factors should be taken into account. Many European companies have WHP
programmes in place, ranging from encouraging workers to improve their diet (by
including low-fat options in work canteens, for example), to providing training
for managers to recognise stress symptoms in their employees and take
appropriate action.

Dundee City Council in the UK, for example, has been working to improve the
psychological and physical health of staff in its Social Work Department.
Initiatives have included organisational level actions, such as family-friendly
policies, as well as individual level measures such as the provision of a
confidential employee counselling service and subsidised slimming club
membership. The scheme has already led to an improvement in the health of
employees, with an estimated 165,000 Euros being saved in sickness absence
every year through a reduction in stress, anxiety and musculoskeletal problems.

EU-OSHA has just launched a new web portal on WHP, including two new factsheets
that provide overview and advice to employers and workers. This ranges from
ways to create a supportive working environment to providing information, ideas
and encouragement on health matters, such as giving up smoking. The portal also
includes good practice resources such as useful links and case studies.


More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work