Occupational Health vs. Employee Health: What is the Difference?

Protect your workforce and your bottom line by understanding the vital difference between occupational health and employee health. Occupational health safeguards employees from workplace hazards, emphasizing regulations and policies to prevent injuries and diseases. Employee health encompasses physical and mental well-being, addressing physical health, mental wellness, disease prevention, and more. The collaboration of these two aspects creates a balanced, healthy, and productive workforce. Investing in health and safety not only reduces costs but also fosters a safer, happier work environment. Discover strategies to enhance both by implementing wellness programs and frequent safety training. Prioritize your employees' well-being and improve your company's performance.
occupational health

Occupational health refers to ensuring that workers are protected from workplace hazards. Safety regulations and policies prevent injuries, illnesses, and diseases. On the other hand, employee health refers to the state or condition of being healthy.  Employee health is a broader term that encompasses both mental and physical well-being. It also covers the prevention of disease and injury at work. The two concepts are closely related and often confused. Keep reading to learn more about their differences and how they work together!

What is Occupational Health?

Work-related injuries and illnesses affect more than three million people annually. The World Health Organization defines occupational health as “an area of work in public health to promote and maintain the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations.” This involves maintaining and promoting worker health, improving working conditions, and developing work cultures that value health and safety. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, otherwise known as OSHA, sets regulations for employers to ensure their workplace is safe for workers. OSHA seeks to protect workers from potential workplace hazards and risks through hazard prevention, training, and safety awareness

Workplace Injuries

The primary purpose of occupational health is to prevent workplace injuries. With 2.7 million workplace injuries occurring in 2021, the physical cost to employees and the financial cost to employers is enormous. The most common work-related injuries are overexertion, contact with objects or equipment, and falls. Collectively, these injuries account for 84% of workplace injuries that occur in the United States. 

What is Employee Health?

Employee health is the physical and mental state of employees. This broad term covers both physical health and mental well-being. Both of these aspects of health are important and should be equally valued by employers. Studies show that physical ailments can lead to mental health problems. Wellness and prevention are also part of employee health. Exercise, sleep habits, posture, and eating habits all contribute to employee health.

Poor employee health costs employers and employees thousands of dollars every year. From work-related stress to chronic diseases like arthritis, healthcare costs for businesses are on the rise. It is more important than ever to figure out how to balance occupational health and employee health.

Why Should Employers Care?

Taking care of employee health and safety benefits both employers and employees. By reducing workers’ risk for accidents and injuries on the job, employers will experience reduced costs associated with accidents and injuries, including worker’s compensation, healthcare costs, and lost productivity. Employees are less likely to miss work due to illness or injury, thus improving both efficiency and productivity. Employee morale will also improve with a safer work environment, which in turn reduces employee turnover costs for employers. Finally, employees and employers will experience lower health insurance premiums due to fewer workplace injuries. All in all, a focus on the well-being and health of employees is a good thing for both employers and employees.

How to Improve Occupational Health and Employee Health

Employers can work to improve the health and safety of their workforce through a variety of means. One way that employers can improve occupational health is through frequent and thorough safety training. OSHA requires employers to provide safety training in accessible language and vernacular. Employers should provide training to both new and experienced employees. This ensures that safety protocols are followed across the workplace.

A great way to improve employee health and occupational health is by creating a wellness program for your company. Wellness programs seek to prevent injuries and educate employees on health and wellness strategies. Wellness programs focus on improving employee health through exercise, ergonomics, and work-life balance. This can include swapping out office furniture for ergonomically correct furniture, weight-loss challenges, vaccination drives, and more!

Employee health and occupational health should be at the forefront of every employer’s mind and actions. Work Health Solutions offers a variety of services, including injury prevention and wellness programs, to help you improve your company’s occupational and employee health!

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

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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.