Why Workers’ Comp Professionals Are Linking Health and Safety Practices

Chia-Chia Chang, public health analyst for the CDC, sat down to discuss how linking health to safety practices cuts lost time and enhances worker well-being.
By: | November 30, 2018

Have you heard of the Total Worker Health® (TWH) approach?

At this year’s National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo, held Dec. 5 through 7 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, presenters Chia-Chia Chang, public health analyst for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Sabrina Freewynn, total worker health consultant for SAIF, will be speaking on that very topic and how it applies in workers’ compensation.

Their session, “Total Worker Health®: Integrating Health as an Injury Prevention Strategy,” will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 10:45 a.m. in Room South Pacific D.

Chang and Freewynn said their goal is to relay what the TWH approach is and identify how it relies on policies, practices and environmental improvements integrating workplace safety, hazard reduction and illness prevention to enhance overall worker health. Essentially, they’ll be identifying how linking health and safety practices can cut lost time and enhance worker well-being.

Risk & Insurance® wanted to get the inside scoop for what was in store:

Risk & Insurance®: Where did the idea for this session stem from?

Chia-Chia Chang: Reducing risk of injury and reducing the severity of injury are crucial to the workers’ comp, risk management and insurance industries.

There is growing awareness of how health is intertwined with many relevant organizational policies, including benefits, safety and HR. Risk managers, insurance and workers’ comp professionals are now increasingly recognizing the importance of worker health. We wanted to share these ideas with people who can use them to improve their insurance and risk management practice, particularly in loss control.

In addition to these ideas, Sabrina will be sharing examples of companies that have applied a Total Worker Health® approach and found success.

R&I: What is the Total Worker Health® approach?

Chang: Total Worker Health® is defined as policies, programs and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.

This session will go in-depth on this approach and the growing recognition that health and safety are intertwined and can be addressed in ways that improve both.

R&I: What are some of the key points you will highlight during your talk?

Chia-Chia Chang, public health analyst, CDC/NIOSH

Chang: There are three main points:

  • Identify health and occupational safety challenges facing today’s workplace;
  • Describe how a systemic, integrated approach can help prevent injury and illness;
  • Understand how workers’ compensation providers can apply Total Worker Health® to improve worker safety and health.

R&I: Is there anything else you would like to share about the presentation?

Chang: It would be great to include links to additional information and resources: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/twh/default.html and www.saif.com/twh&

Autumn Demberger is a freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected].

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