International Strategy Conference on Safety and Health at Work

T3 Healthy work – healthy life

“OSH and health promotion must go hand in hand”

“Put health and well-being in the centre and look for measures”. This statement by Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health was at the heart of the discussion and debate within the third topic “Healthy work – healthy life”.

A central finding of this topic area was the need to promote the health and well-being of workers as well as the creation of decent working conditions worldwide through closer integration of OSH and health promotion. “When promoting health and well-being, the focus is on the individual in his or her professional, cultural and personal life context”, explained Casey Chosewood. In a future where stress increases due to the blurring between work and private life and the preservation and promotion of an older workforce due to demographic change becomes more important, investing in health and well-being pays off in the long term. The working environment and management culture will be of particular importance. “A style of leadership that encourages good health has a positive influence on the subjective well-being of employees and promotes their health and motivation”, explained Sylvie Vincent-Höper. This cannot work without leadership that both exemplifies and supports a culture of health and prevention.

Resonance within the group was that health, as a value to be protected, must be reflected in every one of a company’s strategies; it must be promoted by management and workers must demand it and live it. Fundamental to this is a dialogue between hierarchies.

Conference participants were in agreement that encouraging employees to participate and appreciating them as a vital resource in the company is an important step towards better health in working and private life. In the future, working and private life should not be looked at separately.