Total Worker Health at ICOH in Seoul

The International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), the oldest society supporting Occupational Safety and Health in the world (formed 1906) met for the 31st time (triennial meetings) in Seoul Korea, sponsored locally by KOSHA, the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency. ICOH has members in over 90 countries, most represented by the 1800 participants in the June, 2015 meeting. Below is a picture from the opening ceremony from last week (May 31-June 5).

A powerful series of presentations featured policy descriptions and strategic plans from 10 lead organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization and US OSHA.  Shown speaking below is Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (US OSHA), the leader of OSHA.

A noteworthy change since the last ICOH meeting is the appearance of presentations of the integration of safety and health with well-being.  NIOSH’s Dr. Casey Chosewood presented a semi-plenary on Total Worker Health, the NIOSH model for the US that is widely recognized beyond the US shores.  Total Worker Health (TWH) was trademarked by NIOSH in 2011 to formalize their re-definition of Occupational Safety and Health (following their Steps to a Healthier Workforce  initiative in 2003 and WorkLife program in 2007).

The mini-symposium on ” Integrated Approaches to Workforce Safety, Health and Well-being Across the Globe” was led by Dr. Kent Anger of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.  The question addressed was ‘are workplace safety, health and well-being programs integrated,’ as opposed to separate programs for safety and health and for well-being.  Shown below is Evelyn Kortum at the mini-symposium presenting the World Health Organization’s ‘Healthy Workplace Model‘ developed in 2009.  It is an integrated public health approach that is broader than TWH, by including the community as well as the workplace; it has a strong focus on the informal workforce which is much larger in developing countries than in the US.  Other speakers in the mini-symposium were Kent and Drs. Casey Chosewood, Roberto Lucchini (Mt. Sinai), Laura Punnett (CPH-NEW; University of Massachusetts/Lowell), and Kang-Sook Lee (The Catholic University of Korea).

Shown below is Dr. Max Lum of NIOSH posing the question ‘What is YouTube?’  His point is that people should view YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia as search engines.  People increasingly are using these sites to search for topics.  Very recently for the first time, Wikipedia, not Google, emerged as the most frequent referring ISP to the NIOSH website.  So, if you want your site to be identified by search engines when people are searching for information about your organization, Google is not the only game in town and in fact may not play in many searches.