Caring for Workers' Health: Do German Employers Follow a Comprehensive Approach Similar to the Total Worker Health Concept? Results of a Survey in an Economically Powerful Region in Germany

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Feb 28;16(5):726. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16050726.


Similar to 'Total Worker Health' in the United States (USA), 'Workplace Health Management' in Germany is a holistic strategy to protect, promote, and manage employees' health at the workplace. It consists of four subcategories. While the subcategories 'occupational health and safety' and 'reintegration management' contain measures prescribed by law, 'workplace health promotion' and 'personnel development' can be designed more individually by the companies. The present study focused on the current implementation of voluntary and legally required measures of the four subcategories, as well as companies' satisfaction with the implementation. A total of N = 222/906 companies (small, medium, and big enterprises of one German county) answered a standardized questionnaire addressing the implementation of health-related measures, satisfaction with the implementation, and several company characteristics. In the subcategory 'occupational health and safety', 23.9% of the companies fulfilled all of the legally required measures, whereas in the category 'reintegration management', that rate amounted to 50.9%. There was a positive correlation between company size and the implementation grade, and as well between company size and the fulfilling of measures required by law. Companies tended to be more satisfied with higher implementation grades. Nevertheless, a surprisingly high proportion of the companies with poor implementation indicated satisfaction with the measures' implementation.

Keywords: Germany; company reintegration management; cross-sectional survey; occupational health and safety; return to work; total worker health; workplace health management; workplace health promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Return to Work / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Return to Work / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*