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J Occup Environ Med. 2013 Dec;55(12 Suppl):S19-24. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000040.

Participatory ergonomics as a model for integrated programs to prevent chronic disease.

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  • 1From the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (Dr Punnett, Dr Warren, Dr Henning, Ms Nobrega, and Dr Cherniack), Lowell, Mass; University of Massachusetts Lowell (Dr Punnett, Ms Nobrega), Lowell, Mass; University of Connecticut Health Center (Dr Warren, Dr Cherniack), Farmington, Conn; and University of Connecticut (Dr Henning), Storrs, Conn.



To describe the value of participatory methods for achieving successful workplace health promotion (WHP) programming, and specifically the relevance of participatory ergonomics (PE) for the Total Worker Health (TWH) initiative.


We review the concept of macroergonomics, and how PE is embedded within that framework, and its utility to modern WHP approaches such as "social health promotion." We illustrate these constructs in practice within TWH.


Participatory ergonomics is relevant to WHP because (1) psychosocial stress contributes to individual health behaviors as well as chronic diseases; (2) job stress cannot be addressed without employee involvement in hazard identification and solutions; (3) the interaction of multiple levels within an organization requires attention to needs and constraints at all levels, just as the social-ecological model addresses higher-level determinants of and constraints on individual behaviors.

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