ACOEM, UL Propose New Framework for Measuring Health and Safety Programs

"While employers have been steadily expanding their efforts at creating healthier and safer workforces in recent years, what has been largely missing are strategies to integrate the work of the health and safety teams and a way to accurately assess the business impact of that work. This new guidance paper offers a pathway to both," said Todd Hohn, CSP, global director of Workplace Health and Safety for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

The overall well-being of American workers could be significantly improved through the adoption of a new framework for integrating health and safety strategies in the workplace, including the use of a standardized index for measuring their business value, according to a paper published this month by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and UL (Underwriters Laboratories). The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine paper's authors propose an Integrated Health and Safety model that features a new Integrated Health and Safety Index based on the methodology of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

"While employers have been steadily expanding their efforts at creating healthier and safer workforces in recent years, what has been largely missing are strategies to integrate the work of the health and safety teams and a way to accurately assess the business impact of that work. This new guidance paper offers a pathway to both," said Todd Hohn, CSP, global director of Workplace Health and Safety for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and one of the paper's authors.

"Evidence continues to mount that the health and well-being of employees is directly tied to the business value of the companies they work for," added Dr. Ron Loeppke, M.D., past president of ACOEM and one of the authors. "A new way of evaluating and measuring health and safety will make it possible to significantly accelerate the accumulation of this important data, which in turn will increase our understanding and encourage new health and safety innovations by employers."

The paper is titled "Integrating Health and Safety in the Workplace: How Closely Aligning Health and Safety Strategies Can Yield Measurable Benefits," and it is an outgrowth of a summit meeting hosted by UL and ACOEM in 2014 that brought together more than 30 national health and safety experts to discuss the concept of integrating health and safety programming. It contains a detailed description of the proposed Integrated Health and Safety Index, which would evaluate categories such as leadership, management, corporate social responsibility practices, disability management, and health and productivity programming. The paper lists eight policy recommendations intended to ensure broad adoption of Integrated Health and Safety principles and the implementation and use of the proposed index by the business community.

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