WorkSafe regularly introduces new initiatives to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace. WorkHealth was a program of voluntary health checks designed to raise health awareness and support healthy lifestyle choices. It was followed by the WorkHealth Coach Program and the WorkHealth Improvement Network Project.
WorkHealth was established in 2008, with a specific aim to reduce the risk of chronic preventable diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease), among Victorian workers and explore the links between chronic disease and workplace injury.
By 2010, enough WorkHealth checks had been completed to warrant an evaluation of the program.
The over-arching objective of the research program was to analyse the gathered data to improve knowledge about Victorian workers, and to evaluate the short, medium and long-term impacts of the WorkHealth scheme on individuals and workplaces.
This project led to an evaluation of the WorkHealth Coach Program – a telephone coaching support program available to Victorian workers who had a WorkHeath check and learned that they were either at medium risk for type 2 diabetes or at medium/high risk of cardiovascular disease.
The evaluation of WorkHealth was completed in 2013 and resulted in the WorkHealth Synthesis Report, which consolidates the key findings of all four projects.
Individual reports were also released:
- WorkHealth Check Follow-up Study
- WorkHealth Research and Evaluation Program
- Impact and Process Evaluation ReportSummary
Key findings indicate that WorkHealth has had a positive impact on health in Victorian workplaces, but that more can be done by targeting higher-risk workers and broadening health promotion opportunities to encompass mental health.
The evaluation of the WorkHealth Coach Program concluded in 2013, with recommendations regarding the workplace setting of the telephone coaching.
ISCRR now manages the WorkHealth database.
WorkSafe has featured some of the WorkHealth findings on their website, and in the short animation below.
Where to now?
Following this, a research project was developed to evaluate WorkSafe's WorkHealth Improvement Network Project (WIN).
The WIN Project targeted hospital and manufacturing industries to develop integrated workplace approaches to musculoskeletal disorders, mental health and safety culture and its evaluation, led by Professor Helen De Cieri, focused on building continuous review/improvement cycles into the project's design.