The WHS Healthy Worker Pyramid (Part 1) – Building the Foundation of a Productive Workplace

occupational health

The lights went black, and throughout the plant, machines slowly whirred to a stop.  Employees who had been productively working stopped.  They waited for the familiar glow of the emergency backup lights and slowly wandered out into the parking lot.  Everyone awaited the restoration of power.  All work at the plant ceased.  The plant engineer worked feverishly to flip the appropriate breakers and restore power to the plant.  Plantwide power outages were a daily occurrence.  They started happening every time the central office made coffee.  You see, they had bought a new coffeemaker.  Every time they brewed coffee, the power to the whole plant blacked out.  The fix was simple enough: every time they brewed coffee, they just accepted that there would be a blackout.  All work would stop until they reset the breakers and “fixed” the issue, completely ignoring the effects on occupational health.

This sounds ridiculous, no?  Why would a company accept that they will have a companywide work stoppage every time they brew coffee?  They should hire an electrical engineer, trace the circuits, and fix the issues.  They should be able to maintain normal working schedules even while brewing coffee.  Basic workplace activities shouldn’t generate work stoppages.  Would it surprise you to know that a very similar situation exists in many companies?

Traditional Occupational Health

Occupational health is often viewed as “fixing.”  An employee is injured, and we have an obligation to treat them, “fix” the injury, and restore them to work.  We accept that performing basic workplace activities, whether manufacturing items or brewing coffee, will generate work stoppages, injuries, and losses.  Sure, there are other health-related tasks we have.  Before an employee can be hired, we have to check the box that they have a pre-employment physical.  Every year, we have to check the box that the relevant workers have had their hearing checked or respirators fitted.  Fundamentally, most companies’ occupational health programs are focused on getting the power going again after brewing coffee.  They are focused on flipping breakers and using reactive care.

Complete Occupational Health

Work Health Solutions offers a better approach. And by better, we mean cheaper.  We mean more effective at preventing injuries and lost work.  We mean more effective at building happier, more productive employees.

The WHS Healthy Worker Pyramid SM is the foundation for building a happy, healthy, productive workplace.  Your company retains the reactive component of treating employee injuries that occur.  However, that becomes the last stage of your occupational health practices.  It is a stage that you avoid as much as possible.  Reactive care is the most expensive and has the narrowest scope of impact (a single employee).  It often means that you’ve lost the occupational health battle.  You’re already dealing with an injury, often OSHA recordable and often tied to a lost work incident.

Building the Foundation of a Productive Workplace

At Work Health Solutions, we work with our clients to focus on efforts that are more impactful and cost-effective.  We look at proactive care, then use targeted interventions crafted to meet the needs of your workplace and your employees.  We then examine objective data to gather injury trends, biometric information, and occupational health screening records.  This data is not merely “checking the box” that we’ve completed this year’s surveillance.  Rather, this data is critical as an early indicator of potential workplace illness or injury.  We work with our patients on educational programs that increase their health literacy.  These programs drive better engagement with occupational health and safety practices and programs—further enhancing program effectiveness.  Finally, we look to regional and global concerns.  We leverage our knowledge base from an international network of clients to identify strategic threats that may be on the horizon.

More to Come

In the coming weeks, we will share more information on our comprehensive approach to occupational health.  We will share how one employer had a 260% return on investment by implementing our RIP: Repetitive Injury Prevention SM program.  This onsite program eliminated recordable injuries while creating a core of thankful, appreciative employees.  These employees, for the first time, contacted their employer and thanked it for offering such beneficial services.  If you could save money, would you do it?  What about avoiding recordable injuries?  How about producing a more productive, engaged workforce?  What if you could do all of these at once?  If you’d like to learn more, subscribe for more details in future posts.  On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with a traditional, reactive approach, just refill the water in your company coffee pot.  The next work stoppage is just around the corner.

If you need help or have questions, contact us today!



Chief Solutions Officer

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Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.