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New Online Toolkit to Improve Employee Health, Safety and Well-being

Encourages Organizations to Integrate Programs

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By Karen Angelo

The Center for Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) released a new online toolkit that helps organizations implement successful worksite health, safety and wellness programs.

Researchers at CPH-NEW – a joint research initiative of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of Connecticut – designed and field tested all of the materials and tools that engage employees at all levels in the design of integrated interventions. 

The toolkit, called the Healthy Workplace Participatory Program, encourages organizations to integrate their health, safety and wellness programs. Studies show that programs that integrate health, safety and wellness can produce better health outcomes and may help save health care and administrative costs. 

“This four-year research-to-practice effort by CPH-NEW produced this toolkit which provides organizations with everything they need to set up a sustainable program for continuous improvement of employee health protection and promotion,” said Assoc. Prof. of Psychology Robert Henning at UConn and principal investigator of the field test study. “Both large and small organizations have benefited from using this toolkit, and the involvement of front-line employees in the design of interventions was a key factor for success and cost-effectiveness.” 

“Our Center has been using this toolkit successfully with organizations for several years,” said Prof. Laura Punnett of the Department of Work Environment at UMass Lowell and co-director of CPH-NEW. “Now that the resources are all online, more organizations can use it to examine workplace issues and develop solutions with employee and management participation.” 

To get started, users answer a nine-question interactive survey to generate a customized diagnostic report for their organization. The report guides the organization through the entire process of getting ready to implement the participatory program. 

Seven-Steps to Success 

At the heart of the program is a seven-step planning tool called “IDEAS” – the Intervention Design and Analysis Scorecard. This scorecard shows employees at all levels how to develop a comprehensive business case that analyzes costs, benefits, barriers and opportunities for each proposed health and safety or wellness solution. 

Worksheets and quick reference guides walk users through each step in the intervention planning process. “The Health Workplace Participatory Program tool has been very useful for our organization because it gives us a systematic approach to improving safety,” said Jim Houlihan, manager of special projects at Liberty Mutual. “It’s a team-process approach that gives company leaders and employees a framework that assures success.” 

The IDEAS tool was described in detail in the November supplementary online issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.