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What is Comprehensive Workplace Health (CWH)?

A healthy workplace is better for business...wherever you work, whatever the job. 

Current evidence shows that workplace health promotion programs are more effective when a wider 'comprehensive' approach is used. The key elements of a 'Comprehensive Workplace Health' approach are illustrated in the diagram at right (Ontario Workplace Health Coalition Comprehensive Workplace Health Model).

Effective workplace health programs should address all of these components:

1) Occupational Health and Safety: protecting employees from physical injury and illness is a priority. Employees must feel 'safe' to be healthy. Examples include: lighting, violence, chemicals, shift design, ergonomics, etc. There is no health without safety, so if your workplace does not yet have an effective health and safety program, then this is the best place to get started.

2) Healthy and Lifestyle Practices: the choices that each of us make about what we eat, our activity level and substance use also contribute to health. The workplace can have an important role in making the healthy choice, the easy choice for employees by creating a supportive work environment. Examples include: providing healthy snacks at meetings, organizing fit breaks, providing physical activity incentives, etc. Create a work environment that makes it easy for employees to make healthy choices.

3) Organizational Culture: The way that people behave towards each other in a workplace, and how decisions about work are made and communicated, are also critical aspects of workplace health. Examples include: management practices, levels of trust, psychological health and safety programs, etc. People are most productive, and most committed, when they feel good about their workplace and are valued for their work.

4) Organizational Social Responsibility: the relationship that an organization plays in the community can contribute positively towards workplace health. Examples include: volunteering, fundraising, green initiatives, etc. An important part of employees feeling valued and supported can include finding meaningful ways to give back to the community.


Click here to learn more about the Ontario Workplace Health Coalition's

Comprehensive Workplace Health Model.

Watch this Health Unit video to learn more about Comprehensive Workplace Health.

Why Should Your Workplace Consider CWH?

A safe, healthy, and supportive workplace helps businesses: maintain their competitive edge; recruit and retain employees best suited for the job; keep absenteeism rates down; encourages employees to be fully productive; reduces the number of injury and illness claims; and fosters creativity/quality/effective customer service.

Research also shows the most effective way to develop a safe, healthy and supportive workplace is through a comprehensive workplace health approach.

Additional Resources:

Starting a workplace health committee? Check out this Healthy Workplace Handbook resource developed by the Ontario Workplace Health Coalition

Updated! - Workplace Wellness Resources for Workplace Health Committees - HKPR District Health Unit

Risky Business: Substance Use at Work - Video - HKPR District Health Unit

Coping with Shiftwork - Video - HKPR District Health Unit

Creating a Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment - OSNPPH

Watch this two-minute video to better understand the 'Creating a Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment' resource