Results from the CDC’s Workplace Health in America (WHA) Survey

Research Report

Laura Linnan presents CDC Workplace Health in America Survey Results

Laura A. Linnan, ScD

Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs; Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Director, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health


AAOHN 1.05 | AAFP 1.0 | ACSM 1.0 | CDR 1.0 | NCHEC 1.0 (advanced)

Statement of the Problem: The last federally-funded national survey of employers’ workplace health promotion (HP) offerings occurred in 2004. Although many employer surveys have been conducted, Workplace Health in America (WHA) is the first national survey to capture the status of workplace health and safety programming, implementation of evidence-based strategies, and description of key components of a comprehensive workplace health promotion program.
Study Design: We selected a simple random sample of worksites from the Dunn & Bradstreet stratified by region, size and industry type. From November 9, 2016-September 1, 2017, interviewers contacted worksite representatives by telephone to recruit and screen for eligibility. A single point of contact responded on behalf of each worksite via web, telephone interview or paper.
Measures Utilized: After reviewing 13 national employer surveys, and convening a national Data User Group to solidify survey aims, we organized a Survey Development Team of workplace health and safety expert group (including CDC subject matter experts) to produce the WHA survey instrument. We established decision rules for keeping/dropping items, did cognitive testing on all survey items, and pilot tested the instrument with employers prior to launch.
Analysis Method: Estimates for survey items will be computed with analysis weights to reflect the effects of probabilities of worksite selection and nonresponse. Descriptive statistics will present overall results, and differences by size, sector and region.
*Results: We present descriptive information on the 2630 participating worksites, stratified by size, sector, and region. Results will include the proportion of worksites providing health insurance for their employees; offering a comprehensive health promotion program; offering any type of health promotion program; offering specific risk behaviors programs, policies and environmental supports related to sleep, tobacco, physical activity, eating; as well as disease management programs and health screenings plus follow-up. For each type of health program offered, we will clarify who provides the service, and an estimate of employee participation with these efforts. We will also describe staffing, employee engagement via health and safety committees; use of incentives; and the types of barriers associated with offering these efforts.
*Conclusions: Regular monitoring is needed to changes over time in offering comprehensive employer-sponsored health and safety programs, policies and environmental supports. Results from the WHA will document current status and allow comparisons since 2004.

The last nationally representative, federally funded survey of employers happened in 2004. Results from the 2016 survey will compare some findings from 12 years ago and will present a wide array of data on evidence-based programs and policies.

*We are just out of the field with the survey and in the process of cleaning the data. We will summarize with actual data as soon as RTI has completed cleaning and summary of the data.


Presenter Bio(s):

Laura A. Linnan, ScD is Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, is also Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Director, at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. In 2010 she became Founding Director of the Carolina Collaborative for Research on Work and Health, an inter-disciplinary collection of academics, employers, government officials and others whose mission is to stimulate new research that leaders to policies and practices that improve worker and workplace health. She is currently funded by NHLBI (w/D.Ward, Multiple PI) to focus on promoting physical activity and creating a supportive work environments for low wage child care workers in more than 60 child care centers in North Carolina. She is lead developer of the CDC-funded national survey of employers called Workplace Health in America. She is also PI of a national survey of state health departments to assess their current activities and capacity to conduct workplace safety and health activities. This study was featured as part of a CDC-sponsored Public Health Grand Rounds entitled “Frontiers in Workplace Health and Safety” that was an international webcast. She also served as PI of the Coordinating Center for the CDC-funded Workplace Health Research Network (2012-2014) – a national network of research on workplace health and safety. She has served on a wide range of national advisory boards, working groups and/or study sections on topics related to workplace health for several institutes at NIH, CDC and NIOSH.