New Paper Touts Benefits Of Integrating Health And Safety

Everybody knows the importance of a safe workplace, and significant efforts have been made to ensure workers’ safety in recent years. Until now, however, there has been no universal metric that can be used to judge the benefits of such health and safety programs.

This just might change with the Integrated Health and Safety (IHS) model, featuring the new Integrated Health and Safety Index, introduced in the May 2015 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. This system is based on the methodology of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, featuring the categories of economical, social and environmental sustainability.

The paper, “Integrating Health and Safety in the Workplace: How Closely Aligning Health and Safety Strategies Can Yield Measurable Benefits,” has its origins in a 2014 summit—hosted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)—where more than 30 health and safety experts discussed integrating health and safety programming.

“Evidence continues to mount that the health and well-being of employees is directly tied to the business value of the companies they work for,” said Ron Loeppke, one of the paper’s authors and former president of the ACOEM. “A new way of evaluating and measuring health and safety will make it possible to significantly accelerate the accumulation of this important data—which, in turn, will increase our understanding and encourage new health and safety innovations by employers.”

The paper pushes the idea of employers to create a “culture of health and safety,” integrating the two ideas and understanding that one is not independent from the other.

“While employers have been steadily expanding their efforts at creating healthier and safer workforces in recent years, what has been largely missing are strategies to integrate the work of the health and safety teams and a way to accurately assess the business impact of the work,” said Todd Hohn, an author of the paper and global director of workplace health and safety for UL. “This new guidance paper offers a pathway to both.”

About the Author

Matthew Kraus

Matthew Kraus is director of communications at NECA and previously was senior editor of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR for five years. He can be reached at

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