Jeannie A.S. Nigam, M.S.; NIOSH; Naomi G. Swanson, PhD; NIOSH; L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH; NIOSH; Rene Pana-Cryan, PhD; NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Healthy Work Design and Well-Being (HWD) National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Program seeks to improve the design of work, work environments, management practices, and organizational policies in order to advance worker safety, health, and well-being. The HWD Program partners with industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, and academia to address HWD needs. This poster describes how the program and its partners address outcomes of interest under the umbrella of safety, health, and well-being including but not limited to traditional injury and illness; depression, anxiety, suicide, PTSD; substance abuse, and cognitive impairment; metabolic disorders, and sleep disorders; and well-being (quality of life, hedonic, and evaluative well-being).

Perhaps now more than ever, the nation is acknowledging the critical role of the design of work in in determining not just the physical health, but the mental health of our nation’s workers, their families, and by extension – the productivity and sustainability of our economy and society at large. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Healthy Work Design and Well-Being (HWD) NORA Program works with partners to accomplish its goals related to advancing worker safety, health, and well-being through efforts to improve the design of work, work environments, management practices, and organizational policies. Current program priorities include improving the organization of work in order to reduce job stress and safeguard and advance worker health and well-being; advancing the safety and health of workers in non-standard work arrangements, such as temporary agency, contract, and gig arrangements; and protecting workers from the negative health and safety consequences of shift work, long work schedules, and other factors that contribute to work-related fatigue.

The HWD Program conducts intramural research that (a) explores the safety and health effects of work organization and the external factors (including societal, technological, regulatory, and policy) that influence work organization; (b) identifies the economic factors that affect worker safety, health, and well-being; (c) designs surveys to track changes in organization of work and effects on worker health, safety, and well-being over time; (d) investigates the association between work arrangements and worker stress, health, and health-related quality of life; (e) identifies cost-effective interventions that organizations can use to reduce the negative impacts of stressors related to work arrangements; and (f) promotes evidence-based, comprehensive approaches to advance worker well-being, including Total Worker Health.

Recently the program has: (a) released the NIOSH WellBQ, a publicly available, no-cost survey assessment tool to measure the well-being status of workers; (b) presented a symposium on a framework for HWD research to an international audience at the 14th European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference; (c) published series of timely blogs on sleep, TWH, economic security, organizational support, stress, addressing HWD program priorities useful to safeguard worker health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic; (d) published the Workplace Supported Recovery website, offering evidence-based policies and programs to reduce substance misuse among workers and support their recovery and return to work; and (e) led the design of supplemental questions in the 2020 and 2021 National Health Interview Surveys focusing on key aspects of work arrangements and potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Links to these efforts and highlights from current intramural research projects in the program portfolio will be presented on the poster.

The HWD NORA Council is currently in the process of developing an implementation plan to address gaps identified in the HWD NORA. Research objectives reflect the needs to address the safety and health implications of advancing technology; decrease shift work, long hours of work, and sleep deficiency burden; promote a sustainable work / non-work interface; improve the safety, health, and well-being of workers with non-standard work arrangements; examine impact of changes in worker demographics on safety, health, and well-being; reduce work organization-related chronic health conditions among workers; and improve the safety, health, and well-being of workers through healthier work design and better organizational practices. Opportunities to engage partners in these efforts exist, and the poster will invite those interested to reach out to program personnel for more information.

The NIOSH HWD program welcomes your comments, ideas, and collaboration. Please reach out to program managers to learn more about the program and how you can get involved.

Tags: Comprehensive Approaches to Healthy Work Design and Well-Being, Economic Issues and Concerns, Total Worker Health, Work Organization and Stress