What is workplace health promotion?


3: Health promoting workplaces

What is workplace health promotion?

Employers have various legal duties in relation to safety and health management (see theme 2) complements these legal requirements, and focuses on a number of factors that are not necessarily covered by occupational health and safety legislation.

The European Network for Workplace Health Promotion has defined as the combined efforts of employers, employees and society to improve the health and well-being of people at work. This places particular emphasis on improving the work organisation and working environment, increasing workers' participation in shaping the working environment, and encouraging personal skills and professional development. 

In general, focuses on issues such as:

  • Health education and training;
  • Work-life balance (social network, family welfare, commuting conditions);
  • Stress and mental well-being; and
  • Lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol).

The role of the employer

The employer has a key role in ensuring the success of measures by:

  • Showing commitment and providing full support, as well as a visible involvement;
  • Integrating the programme into organisational processes and policies as a permanent component; and
  • Encouraging the active involvement and participation of workers in planning and implementation of the measures.

Integrating occupational safety and health and

Traditionally, occupational safety and health and had been regarded as different domains, with mainly focussed on healthy lifestyle and health behaviour of workers. With the passage of time, the scope of broadened to encompass physical and mental well-being and work organisational issues, and the overlap between the two domains has become greater.

Scientific evidence and practical experience indicates that comprehensive practices and policies that address both, the work environment (physical and organisational) and the personal health risks of individuals at the same time, are more effective in preventing disease and promoting health and safety. 

Benefits of workplace health promotion (next section)