Minnesota Department of Transportation
The primary cause of injury to field workers who perform laborious tasks is over-exertion. Due to changing environmental and situational conditions for field workers, it is difficult to apply engineering controls to reduce exposure to over-exertion or strain that contributes to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Workplace health promotion and wellness programs are meant to provide employees with opportunities to learn about lifestyle changes to improve their overall health and wellness status. The goal of this project was to create a reference guide for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) that addresses the different components of a workplace health and wellness promotion program. Results indicate that to be successful, health promotion and wellness should be considered a process instead of a program or initiative. First, management commitment and leadership must be established along with involvement of key stakeholders (such as healthcare providers, workers compensation, etc.). Second, a joint management-worker committee needs to be formed to define how health promotion and wellness can be aligned with organizational goals, policies, and measures, and to assess the needs of workers. The committee needs guidance from a health promotion and wellness expert. Before implementation, baseline measures of health conditions, worker perceptions, and injury/illness and workers compensation data need to be established and periodically monitored to ensure progress. Establishing health promotion and wellness into the culture of the organization, careful planning by a well-represented committee, and evaluation on the performance of the program using a variety of measures, are keys to success.
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