By Trish Ennis CSP, ARM, CRIS
Executive Director, Colorado Safety Association
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Professionals are frequently on the front line of responding to emergencies and critical incidents in the workplace. Emergency response activities present unique risks to responders, due to the unknown nature of the hazards and the heightened sense of urgency to take quick action. Training is key in situations like this. Planning for and caring for workers in emergency response is a component of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Heath initiative. According to NIOSH, “Total Worker Health® (TWH) is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.” The Surgeon General has determined work has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of people, as many employed US adults spend over half of their waking lives at work, or engaging in work activities. The graphic below, from the NIOSH TWH page shows how assessing risk leads to understanding so that effective policies and programs can be developed.