The Effectiveness of Total Worker Health Interventions: A Systematic Review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop
The Total Worker Health (TWH) program of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health aims to advance worker well-being by integrating injury and illness prevention efforts with work-related safety and health hazard efforts. PURPOSE: To evaluate evidence on the benefits and harms of integrated TWH interventions. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO (January 1990 through September 2015); clinical trial registries; and reference lists. STUDY SELECTION: English-language studies that enrolled employed adults and compared integrated interventions with usual work practice, no intervention, or another intervention. DATA EXTRACTION: Dual abstraction and risk-of-bias (ROB) assessment. DATA SYNTHESIS: Ten of the 15 included studies had high ROB, primarily because of selection and attrition bias. Findings graded as having low strength of evidence (SOE) supported the effectiveness of TWH interventions for improving smoking cessation, as measured by self-reported 7-day abstinence over 22 to 26 weeks (2 randomized, controlled trials [RCTs]; n = 737), and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables over 26 to 104 weeks (3 RCTs; n = 6056); results apply to populations of blue-collar manufacturing and construction workers. Findings graded as having low SOE supported the effectiveness of TWH interventions for reducing sedentary work behavior in office workers over 16 to 52 weeks (2 RCTs; n = 262). Evidence was insufficient or lacking for other outcomes of interest, such as rates of work injuries, quality of life, and harms. LIMITATION: Small, diverse body of evidence with many methodological limitations; possible publication bias. CONCLUSION: Integrated TWH interventions might improve health behaviors (for example, reduce tobacco use and sedentary behavior and improve diet) of workers, but effects of these interventions on injuries and overall quality of life are not known. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.