NIOSH Releases Well-Being Survey for Employers

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2021

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a survey earlier this month that it says is meant to be a resource design to measure worker well-being.

The Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ) is a free tool that is intended to help researchers, employers, workers, practitioners and policymakers understand workers’ health and target interventions to improve well-being.

“Worker well-being is an unifying concept that characterizes quality of life with respect to a person’s working conditions, circumstances outside of work, and physical and mental health status,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “NIOSH is excited to offer this new tool that anyone can use to evaluate worker well-being in order to help identify opportunities to advance worker well-being through workplace policies, programs, and practices.”

Those who could find WellBQ useful include:

  • Employers, worker health and well-being professionals and decision-makers - who can use the survey to inform decisions to advance worker well-being in the workforce as a whole or within various worker subpopulations such as industry and occupational sectors or demographic groups;
  • Occupational safety and health and public health experts and policymakers - who can use it to monitor changes in worker well-being in relation to economic conditions, societal trends or changing governmental or organizational policies; and
  • Researchers and organizational consultants–who can use it to assess the well-being of a working population before, during and after an intervention.

The WellBQ identifies five domains of worker well-bring, which include:

  • Work evaluation and experience;
  • Workplace policies and culture;
  • Workplace physical environment and safety climate;
  • Health status; and
  • Home, community and society.

The questionnaire comprises 68 questions representative of the five domains and complementing these are 15 optional items about employment and demographic information, which may be edited as needed to meet user needs.

A draft of the WellBQ was pilot tested in a nationwide sample of 975 workers, and reportedly takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Other Health Initiatives

At the end of January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its checklists for construction employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, with special consideration for workers’ mental health.

The documents included lists for each party. For employees, the checklist of ways to build resilience includes:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule;
  • Take breaks to stretch, exercise or check in with someone supportive;
  • Spend time outdoors;
  • Practice mindfulness;
  • Stay informed about how to protect yourself and others; and
  • Connect with others.

For employers, the checklist revolved more around stress management, and includes:

  • Talk openly with employees and/or unions about how the pandemic is affecting work and clearly communicate expectations;
  • Anticipate behavior changes and watch for signs of increased irritation, sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits or difficult concentration; and
  • Ensure that the company has a system in place to identify and provide mental health services to employees who need support.

The CDC noted that the pandemic has negatively impacted employee mental health for several reasons, including:

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed at work;
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed for job performance;
  • Conflict at home;
  • Failure to take time to relax;
  • Feelings of not contributing enough or guilt;
  • Uncertainty about future employment; and
  • Adapting to a different workspace or schedule.

Tagged categories: COVID-19; Health & Safety; Health and safety; NA; NIOSH; North America; Safety

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