Overview of health promotion in the workplace

  • Diana Sanders
  • Sally Crowe


The importance of health promotion in the workplace is increasingly being recognised, not only to prevent disease, disability or death caused by hazards at work and the working environment, but also because the workplace provides a setting and the opportunity to tackle health issues and improve the health of employees (Schilling, 1989; Health Education Authority, 1992 a,b,c; Trent Regional Health Authority, 1993). National policies such as The Health of the Nation, ‘Health at Work in the NHS’ and Health and Safety legislation endorse and encourage workplace health initiatives. Several national human resource initiatives such as ‘Investors in People’ contribute to a coordinated planned approach and can enhance health promotion initiatives. Health promotion interventions in the workplace are becoming increasingly common, particularly in larger organisations. The increase in activity has evolved due to a variety of factors: recognition of the costs of employee ill-health; response to internal and external pressures to be seen as caring employers; and health and safety and European legislation. However, as will be discussed in this chapter, the UK lags behind other countries in both the extent of provision of programmes and in evaluating such programmes. Therefore, drawing conclusions about the benefits of health promotion in the workplace, and making recommendations as to effective programmes, is limited.


Health Promotion Sickness Absence Industrial Relation Occupational Health Service Health Promotion Intervention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexy, B. B. (1991). Factors associated with participation or non participation in a workplace wellness centre Research in Nursing and Health. 14(1), 33–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allinson, T., Cooper, C. L. & Reynolds, P. (1989). Stress counselling in the workplace: the Post Office experience. The Psychologist (September), 2, 384–388.Google Scholar
  3. Anon (1990). Polaroid: A health promotion programme for the workplace and the community. Occupational Health Review, 24, 2–4.Google Scholar
  4. Arroba, T. & James, K. (1990). Reducing the costs of stress: an organisational model. Personnel Review, 19(1), 21–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashton, D. (1989). The Corporate Health Care Revolution. London: IPM/ Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  6. Batlle, E., Boixet, M., Agudo, A., Almirall, J. & Salvador, T. (1991). Tobacco prevention in hospitals: long-term follow-up of a smoking control programme. British Journal of Addiction, 86, 709–717.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Batten, L. (1988). The NHS as agent of change: creating a smoke-free environment in hospitals. Health Trends, 20, 70–75.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Batten, L. (1990). Managing Change: Smoking Policies in the NHS. London: Health Education Authority.Google Scholar
  9. Bovell, V. (1992). The economic benefits of health promotion in the workplace. In Action on Health at Work Seminar, 18 February 1992. London: Health Education Authority.Google Scholar
  10. Bunce, D. & West, M. (1993). Stress Management and Innovation Interventions at Work. MRC/ESRC Social and Applied Psychology Unit, Memo Number 1359, University of Sheffield.Google Scholar
  11. Clarkson, J., Blower, E., Hunter, C, Scale, I & Nutbeam, D. (1991). Overview of Innovative Workplace Action for Health in the UK. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, working paper no: WP/91/03/EN.Google Scholar
  12. Cooper, C. L. & Payne, R. (1988). Causes, Coping and Consequences of Stress at Work. New York & London: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Cooper, C. L. & Sadri, G. (1991). The impact of stress counselling at work. In P. L. Perewe (ed.), Handbook on Job Stress (special issue). Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality, 6(1), 411–423.Google Scholar
  14. Creed, F. (1993). Mental health problems at work. British Medical Journal (24 April), 306, 1082–1083.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Defrank, R. S. & Cooper, C. L. (1987). Worksite stress management interventions: their effectiveness and conceptualisation. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 2, 4–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Department of Health (1992). Creating Effective Smoking Policies in the NHS. London : Health Education Authority.Google Scholar
  17. Department of Health and Social Security (1988). Fourth Report of the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health. Chairman: Sir Peter Froggatt. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  18. Eriksen, M. P. (1988). Cancer prevention in workplace health promotion. American Association of Occupational Health Nursing Journal, 56(6), 266–270.Google Scholar
  19. Hallett, R. (1986). Smoking intervention in the workplace: review and recommendations. Preventive Medicine, 15 (3), 213–231.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harvey, S. (1988). Just an Occupational Hazard? Policies for Health at Work. London: King’s Fund Institute.Google Scholar
  21. Health Education Authority (1988). Stress in the Public Sector. Nurses, Police, Social Workers and Teachers. London: Health Education Authority.Google Scholar
  22. Health Education Authority (1990). Action Plan on Stress. London: HEA.Google Scholar
  23. Health Education Authority (1991a). Report on Qualitative Research to Inform Development of Cancer Education Programmes in the Workplace. London: HEA.Google Scholar
  24. Health Education Authority (1992a). Action on Health at Work. Report of a seminar, 18 February 1992. London: HEA.Google Scholar
  25. Health Education Authority (1992b). Health at Work in the NHS. Action Pack. London: HEA.Google Scholar
  26. Health Education Authority (1992c). Health at Work in the NHS. Report on National Consultative Workshops. London: HEA.Google Scholar
  27. Health Education Authority (1993). Health Promotion in the Workplace. A Summary. London: HEA.Google Scholar
  28. Hurst, T. (1992). Towards a Smoke-Free Health Service. The 2nd Report. Tom Hurst.Google Scholar
  29. Industrial Relations Service (1989a). Health promotion at work. Parts 1 and 2. Industrial Relations Service Employment Trends (April & July), 438 and 443.Google Scholar
  30. Industrial Relations Service (1989b). Workplace health promotion at Polaroid. Industrial Relations Service Employment Trends, 454, 11–14.Google Scholar
  31. Industrial Relations Service (1992a). Smoking at work. Part 1. Why and how employers introduce smoking policies. Industrial Relations Service Review and Report (February), 506, February, 4–10.Google Scholar
  32. Industrial Relations Service (1992b). Smoking at work. Part 2. Policy content, growth and balance. Industrial Relations Service Review and Report (March) 507, 5–13.Google Scholar
  33. Jee, M. & Reason, L. (1988). Action on Stress at Work. London: Health Education Authority.Google Scholar
  34. Jenkins, M., McEwan, J., Moreton, W. J., East, R., Seymour, L. & Goodin, M. (1987). Smoking Policies at Work. London: Health Education Authority.Google Scholar
  35. Jenkins, R. & Coney, N. (1992). Prevention of Mental Ill Health at Work. A Conference. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  36. Klimes, I. (1989). Promoting Well-Being at Work: Health Service Staff in Oxfordshire. Oxford: Oxfordshire Department of Clinical Psychology.Google Scholar
  37. Lovato, C. Y. & Green, L. W. (1990). Maintaining employee participation in workplace health promotion programs. Health Education Quarterly, 17(1), 73–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Matheson, H. (1987). Health Promotion in the Workplace. Scottish Health Education Group.Google Scholar
  39. Murphy, L. R. (1988). Workplace intervention for stress reduction and prevention. In C. Cooper & R. Payne (eds), Causes, Coping and Consequences of Stress at Work. London & New York: J Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. National Association for Staff Support (1992). The costs of stress and the costs and benefits of stress management. London: NASS.Google Scholar
  41. Owen, G. M. (1993). Taking the Strain. Stress, Coping Mechanisms and Support Systems for Professional Carers. Literature Review, 4th edn. London: NASS.Google Scholar
  42. Payne, R. & Firth-Cozens, J. (1987). Stress in Health Professionals. Chichester: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Pencack, M. (1991). Workplace health promotion programs. An overview. Nursing Clinics of North America, 26(1), 233–240.Google Scholar
  44. Philo, J., Russell, J. & Pettersson, G. (1992). Health at Work: A Needs Assessment in South West Thames Regional Health Authority. London: South West Thames Regional Health Authority.Google Scholar
  45. Rost, K. (1990). Predictors of employee involvement in a worksite health promotion program. Health Education Quarterly, 17(4), 395–407.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sanders, D (1993). Workplace Health Promotion. A Review of the Literature. Oxford: Directorate of Health Policy and Public Health, Oxford Regional Health Authority.Google Scholar
  47. Schilling, R. S. F. (1989). Health protection and promotion at work. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 46(10), 683–688.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Trent Regional Health Authority (1993). Health at Work in the NHS. A Directory of Current Practice in Trent. Trent RHA.Google Scholar
  49. Warner, K. E., Wickizer, T. M., Wolfe, R. A., Schildroth, J. E. & Samuelson, M. H. (1988). Economic implication of workplace health promotion programs: a review of the literature. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 30 (2), 106–112.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Watson, N. (1992). Provision of Employee Health and Welfare Programmes in a Range of Private and Public Sector Organisations in the UK. Sunderland: University of Sunderland.Google Scholar
  51. Webb, T., Schilling, R., Jacobson, B. & Babb, P. (1988). Health at Work? A Report on Health Promotion at the Workplace. Research Report No. 22. London: Health Education Authority.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Diana Sanders and Sally Crowe 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Sanders
  • Sally Crowe

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations