Defining Healthy Schools: An Occupational Health Psychology Perspective on Healthy School Climates
Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) uses models and methods of behavioral science to understand the nature of work organization and in doing so inform organizational policies and practices that improve worker safety, health and well-being. From an OHP perspective, healthy schools have work environments that lessen employees’ exposure to health threats in order to increase workplace safety and enhance worker well-being. Many occupational health hazards reflect the organization of work – which refers to the way jobs are designed and the organizational practices that influence job design. The goal of this chapter is to provide readers with an overview of OHP, both in terms of broad dimensions of employee health and the organizational influences on health that may be modifiable through changes to work practices. Key themes in the chapter include the conceptualization of healthy schools as a set of policies and practices that define the work environment, the need to consider both physical and psychological aspects of health, the importance of not only removing hazards but also taking steps to enhance the positive aspects of work, and best practices in implementing healthy workplace programs as exemplified through the Total Worker Health Initiative of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace program.
KeywordsOccupation health psychology Organizational climate Workplace safety Total worker health Work organization Psychologically healthy workplace
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