Workplace Health Promotion
Workplace health promotion (WHP) is the combined efforts of employers, employees and society to improve the health and wellbeing of people at work. This is achieved through a combination of: improving the work organisation and working environment; promoting the participation of workers in the whole process of WHP; enabling healthy choices, and encouraging personal development.
WHP means more than simply meeting the legal requirements on health and safety; it also means employers actively helping their staff improve their own general health and wellbeing. Within this process it’s essential to involve employees and to take into account their needs and views on how to organise work and the workplace.
By making workers feel better and healthier, workplace health promotion leads to many positive consequences like reduced turnover and absenteeism, enhanced motivation and improved productivity, as well as improving the employer’s image as a positive and caring organisation.
WHP generally targets different topics and in practice is often closely related to risk assessment. Some workplace health promotion aspects are:
- Participation of employees in the process of improving work organisation
- Active involvement and consultation of employees in improving their work environment
- All measures aimed at enhancing wellbeing at work, for example enabling flexible working hours or working from home
- Raising the topic of healthy eating at work, giving information on healthy nutrition as well as offering healthy canteen food or facilities to prepare own food
- Tobacco awareness, including the offer of free participation in smoking cessation programmes as well as declaring a comprehensive smoking ban at the whole company site
- Mental health promotion, offering courses for managers on how to deal with stress and tension within their team, providing the opportunity for anonymous psychological consultancy for all employees
- Exercises and physical activity, offering sport courses, encouraging physical activity, promoting an active and healthy culture at work
- Health monitoring, offering checks such as blood pressure or cholesterol level.
Find out more information from our factsheets "Workplace health promotion for employees" and "Workplace health promotion for employers". Our case studies on workplace health promotion contain many practical solutions showing how different European companies have implemented workplace health promotion.
Preventing a negative impact of tobacco smoke in the workplace
Exposure to tobacco smoke is bad for both smokers’ and non-smokers’ health. It can cause serious problems such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and have adverse reproductive effects. Furthermore it can cause death due to cancers (particularly lung cancer), coronary heart disease or stroke.
Yet thousands of workers are still exposed to tobacco smoke at their workplace. According to EU-OSHA estimates based on ILO data, over 9,000 workers died in EU-27 in 2008 because of lung cancer caused by ETS at work.
In addition to individual sufferings, exposure to tobacco smoke imposes significant costs on the economy, including direct costs stemming from increased healthcare expenditure and indirect costs linked to productivity losses.
It is in everyone’s interest to stop tobacco smoke exposure!
- An employer can eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) by introducing a smoke-free policy and support smoking workers by establishing a smoking cessation programme.
- A smoking worker should be considerate and not to expose a co-worker, and take advantage of smoking cessation programmes to quit smoking.
- A non-smoking worker can raise this issue with the employer and a smoking colleague to have a smoke-free workplace
EU-OSHA good practice information about prevention of exposure to tobacco smoke at the workplace
- Consultation of the European social partners on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at the workplace
- Smoke-free partnership (in English only)
- European Commission information on smoke free-environments (in English only) and its campaign Ex-smokers are unstoppable
Napo in... lungs at work