Total Worker Health® and Critical Risk Management

Total Worker Health® and Critical Risk Management .Occupational Health II. Protecting our People.


Nancy Wilk; WSP

"Global estimates of the work-related burden of disease and injury indicate that each year 1.9 million people die from exposure to occupational risk factors, 81% of these fatalities resulting from non-communicable, occupational diseases. These are underestimates of the burden of occupational exposure and disease. We are not effectively preventing occupational disease and related fatalities through the classical approaches to occupational safety and health and risk management.  There is an urgent need for alternate strategies to prevent occupational illness. Total Worker Health® (TWH®), introduced by US NIOSH in 2011, offers an approach for consideration that could serve as a model across geographies and sectors to improve worker well-being, mitigation of risk, and ultimately, prevention of occupational disease and related fatality.

At CIMBC22 in Vancouver Canada, the TWH® approach was introduced and presented as a model for consideration by the mining sector. During the same conference, mining professionals gathered in a workshop to examine the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Critical Control Management (CCM) approach. Included in the workshop discussion were the issues around applying CCM and the prevention of chronic, non-communicable disease and fatality. Those participating in the workshop included a broad selection of mining sector representatives along with occupational physicians, occupational hygienists, and other occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) professionals. We need to keep the dialogue going around the most appropriate models to prevent non-communicable occupational disease and fatality.

This presentation will include the recent global estimates of non-communicable, occupational diseases published by the World Health Organization and International Labour Office in 2021, along with a review of the ICMM CCM process. TWH® will be defined and the issues related to advancing worker well-being will be introduced. The other “Totals”, Total Exposure Health and Total Worker Exposure, and their relationships to TWH will be explained. The presentation will highlight the challenges in applying the CCM approach for the control of critical risks associated with overexposure to chronic occupational health hazards such as silica and other carcinogens. In these intersecting topic areas, occupational hygienists and other OEHS professionals as exposure scientists can have meaningful input into prevention strategies and programs and improved worker health outcomes. Collaborative opportunities offering sustainable solutions will be introduced and discussed."
Keywords: CIMTL23