Occupational health

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Protecting and promoting health at the workplace: A WHO Global framework and global guidance on healthy workplaces

Dr Evelyn Kortum (kortume@who.int)
Interventions for Health Environments, WHO, Geneva

The WHO Global Plan of Action states that capacities should be built for primary prevention of occupational hazards, diseases and injuries, including strengthening of human, methodological and technological resources, training of workers and employers, introduction of healthy work practices and work organization, and of a health-promoting culture at the workplace. It further states that mechanisms need to be established to stimulate the development of healthy workplaces, including consultation with, and participation of, workers and employers.

The Healthy Workplace Framework aims to increase awareness among the business community, workers, practitioners, occupational health experts and policy makers, of the benefits of the comprehensive approach and the underlying principles of the HWP model to reduce the health impact of hazardous, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions; to develop global and specific how-to approaches based on the criteria of the healthy workplace model and good practice; to increase ease of use and ownership by the business community, as well as to expand the global partnership alliance with committed members to ensure continued support for the development, implementation and evaluation of healthy workplace programmes in enterprises of all sizes.

The implementation of the Global Plan of Action requires interventions at international, national and workplace levels. Such interventions need to be planned and delivered in an integrated way bringing together health protection and health promotion. Currently, a large network of 180 global resource members ready to pilot and adapt guidance has been built up. In parallel, the summary document ' Healthy Workplaces: A model for action' has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian. The literature review was translated into Spanish from English. We have been working on the development and evaluation of a number of reliable tools to propose for a global guidance for employers and workers. We have also been collecting good practice examples and devised indicators for healthy workplace programmes in the four avenues of influence. Once the new calls for projects for the 20012-2107 workplan of the global network of WHO CCs have been finalized, we will have a better idea about their number and nature. The final outcome should be practical guidance for employers and workers to support them in the development, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive healthy workplace programmes.

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