Earlier this month, L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH, Director of the Office of Total Worker Health at NIOSH traveled to Eastern Iowa to present at the Corridor Business Journal's annual Health Care Summit. During his luncheon keynote, Dr. Chosewood addressed the business case for Total Worker Health initiatives. Attendees were advised to focus on workplace changes and not on changing individual behaviors.
Prior to his presentation in Cedar Rapids, Dr. Chosewood participated in an interactive discussion with students and faculty at the College of Public Health, "Twenty Questions on CDC, NIOSH, and Total Worker Health (All You Ever Wanted to Know- and More!)" Dr. Chosewood also made time to meet one-on-one with several new investigators and pilot grantees.
Before the conclusion of his trip, Dr. Chosewood sat down with Dean Parker at the College of Public Health to further discuss opportunities for the University of Iowa and NIOSH to work together to improve the wellbeing of workers throughout the region. Thank you again to Dr. Chosewood for braving the winter weather to join us this month. We appreciate your support to our Center and commitment to advancing Total Worker Health.
Digital Human Modeling in the Occupational Safety and Health Process:
An Application in Manufacturing IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors
Digital human modeling and simulation software has been identified as an effective tool for evaluating work tasks and design alternatives without requiring the expense of physical mock-ups and production trials. Despite recent commercial advancements and a broader availability of digital human modeling platforms, the peer-reviewed scientific literature lacks sufficient demonstration of the application of digital human modeling software within an occupational safety and health process for mitigating exposures to physical risk factors in a real-work environment. We describe the implementation of a commercially available digital human modeling platform as a component of an occupational safety and health process in a manufacturing environment over the course of 1 year. Success stories, challenges, and practical recommendations are discussed.
Exploring Individual & Organizational
Stress-reducing Interventions across Industries NIOSH Science Blog 02/08/19
Physical and mental job stress are critical drivers of individual health problems and organizational and societal costs. Health effects of stress lead to higher absenteeism, turnover, and loss of productivity for organizations, as well as higher healthcare expenditures. Long-term impact of stress on employees leads to chronic health conditions. Workplace interventions can help working adults reduce stress which in turn may reduce the impact of chronic health conditions. In May 2018, research on stress-reducing interventions was presented at the 2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®. The purpose of this project was to describe stress interventions delivered in the workplace and report the health effects of implementation. A scoping review of more than ten thousand studies from 2007 through 2017 found 37 articles that met eligibility and reported outcomes; the summary of analysis results is below.
Results showed most studies on stress intervention in the workplace were conducted in the healthcare industry (40%), followed by education (11%), and in groups of general workers (11%), with 73% of the studies in white collar jobs. Most studies (33) involved individual-level strategies. The most common individual strategies were mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and coping strategies. Only two studies were delivered to the organization and two combined individual and organizational level strategies via a participatory program.
Studies with the largest effect used meditation, coping strategies, cognitive behavioral therapy, and multicomponent strategies, but use of these strategies did not consistently produce strong effects. Effect sizes varied by type of strategy and industry. Coping strategies produced a large effect in general workers but a small effect for healthcare. The health effect of physical activity strategies varied widely by the type of work and there was a tendency for high attrition of participants. Multi-component strategies had large effect in some studies, while others showed high attrition and low participation. Work organization interventions were multi-component. All of these studies were conducted in healthcare and results were limited by inadequate power and attrition from turnover; none showed a meaningful effect.
Most workplace stress reducing strategies in the published literature focused on increasing individual tolerance to stress rather than reducing the source of stress created by the job and organization. This is perhaps the most striking finding of this review....
The Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (HWCMW) is one of six Total Worker Health® Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Our mission is to improve the health of workers in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, as well as nationally, through integrated health promotion and health protection research, collaboration, and dissemination of successful interventions.