A recent report proposes integrating workplace health and safety programs in order to evaluate their impacts on businesses.
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and safety company UL convened a summit last year about combining health and safety efforts.
In the May edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the groups argue that those programs should be considered as part of a "health and safety continuum" and outline guidance for employers to take that step.
The proposed Integrated Health and Safety Index would utilize the same categories -- economic, social and environmental -- that have been in use for years in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
In addition to fostering a combined health and safety effort, the index would provide a standardized method of translating those programs into business value for investors.
“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, ACOEM Past President and one of the paper’s authors.
The index would evaluate topics ranging from specific health programs to broad leadership practices, as well as assign numerical values to a wide variety of metrics such as worker's compensation claims, absenteeism, accidents, health assessments and biometric screenings.
The report also recommends a series of policy initiatives to ensure adoption of the standard, including the development of employee education programs, business incentives and partnerships with government, health care providers and insurers.