Occupational health

Workplace health promotion

The workplace: A priority setting for health promotion

The workplace, along with the school, hospital, city, island, and marketplace, has been established as one of the priority settings for health promotion into the 21st century.

The workplace directly influences the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of workers and in turn the health of their families, communities and society. It offers an ideal setting and infrastructure to support the promotion of health of a large audience. The health of workers is also affected by non-work related factors.

Regrettably the concept that the workplace is an important arena for health campaigns of many kinds, as well as basic occupational health and safety programmes is not yet widely accepted. In one country there were ill-advised cuts in occupational health services to support AIDS prevention work, due to lack of comprehension that the workplace is a vital arena for AIDS prevention.

The concept of the health promoting workplace (HPW) is becoming increasingly relevant as more private and public organisations recognize that future success in a globalizing marketplace can only be achieved with a healthy, qualified and motivated workforce. A HPW can ensure a flexible and dynamic balance between customer expectations and organisational targets on the one hand and employees skills and health needs on the other, which can assist companies and work organisations to compete in the marketplace. For nations, the development of HPW will be a pre-requisite for sustainable social and economic development.

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