Put Health Into Health & Safety

For the original publication by the GVGA, click here for the July/August 2021 issue.

Is there a better time than now during COVID lockdowns and restrictions to put some focus on the health in “health and safety”?

Health and wellness have been considered separate areas of focus from safety. Now is the time to ingrate the two. There are many reasons for this and a great article that talks about this was written in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine. It’s called Safety and Wellness: The Critical Connection.

So how start integrating the programs and get commitment from leadership and employees? One way is through your health and safety management system.

The Health and Safety Excellence Program (HSEP) incorporates this topic under “Workplace Health Promotion.” One way to integrate is to participate in HSEP and work at building health and wellness into your safety program. Plenty of HSEP guides and resources are available to help you on your journey, and a bonus for participating is you receive rebates and recognition for your good work. This topic is also part of COR 2020, so your work can be used in both programs.

We seem to think about weight loss or yoga or meditation when we hear workplace wellness but there are many other ways to include health and wellness initiatives into your workplace. These include: employee assistance program, mental health promotion, psychological first aid, vehicle safety, personal health and safety, and health and safety at home.

If you are looking for some helpful resources pertaining to organizational health, check out the Ontario Workplace Health Coalition. The coalition is a non-profit volunteer organization that pulled together a comprehensive workplace health model that was derived from the World Health Organization’s healthy workplace model.

The model incorporates four elements and is consistent with the recommended best practices in the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. All elements of the model are interrelated, and together are fundamental for helping workplaces align business practices that support worker well-being and drive organizational success in a sustainable manner.

The implementation is based on a widely used management system model and aligns easily with your health and safety management programs and contains the following elements:

  • Plan – an ongoing and recurring process
  • Do – implementing the steps of your program
  • Check – evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness and impact of action taken
  • Act – periodic review of the program by management

So take this time to consider integrating health and wellness into your workplace culture. I bet you can find some programs you implemented as a result of COVID requirements that can fit right into the HSEP Workplace Health Promotion requirements to kick start your journey.


The article was written by Monica Szabo, the is the HSEP Lead at GVCA. Monica also serves on the board of the OWHC.


Put Health Into Health & Safety