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New Management Tool for Improving Worker and Women's Health in Factories

New Management Tool for Improving Worker and Women's Health in Factories

Published 01-30-17

Submitted by Meridian Group International, Inc.

A new guidebook to help factories improve worker health and manage their health activities as a basic management function was released today by the Levi Strauss Foundation and the Evidence Project/Meridian Group International, Inc.

“Managing Health at the Workplace: A Guidebook” takes research evidence and industry experience of what factories can do to improve their workplace health services and puts this knowledge into a form that managers can use. It makes the case that the health needs of women and men workers in low- and middle-income country should be considered a fundamental business concern.

“It is common for factory managers to think, ‘Why should I have to deal with one more non-business issue? And what more can be done about health, in any case?,’” said David Wofford, vice president at Meridian and senior advisor to the Evidence Project. “In fact, health is a business issue, and workplaces could do a lot more with their existing resources than they often realize.”

Levi Strauss & Co. highlights the guidebook in a new blog post, “Investing in the Health of Factory Workers,” and explains how it fits into the resources the company is making publicly available to the apparel industry as part of its Worker Well-being program.

While much attention is given to workplace safety and compliance, general health services and worker health promotion are often seen as costly and disruptive to operations. The guidebook gives special attention to the importance of the health of women workers and their access to reproductive health and family planning services. It also highlights that nurses, who are often under-utilized, would be better viewed as a strategic resource to promote good health, not just treat injuries.

Supporting the guidebook is a package of management resources, including:

  • A Scorecard for factory self-assessment that provides suggested indicators that can be integrated into a factory’s goals or key performance indicators for health. This Scorecard was developed in collaboration with Business for Social Responsibility’s HERproject.

  • A “How-to” Toolkit with eight modules that help managers implement specific improvement activities.

The guidebook recognizes that every factory is different. Each one will start at a different place depending on its size and resources and the capabilities of its health staff and management. The focus is on continuous improvement, not perfection or a compliance checklist.

Research shows that workplaces with health programs that enjoy strong business benefits have some common characteristics. They “think big, start small, and act fast – one step at a time” and they “set short- and long-term objectives.” The Guidebook and tools enable factories to do both.

The Evidence Project is a global USAID-funded project, led by the Population Council, that uses implementation science to expand access to high quality family planning and reproductive health services. Meridian implements the RAISE Health Initiative, a major activity of the Evidence Project, that works with companies, global health groups, governments, and civil society organizations to promote practical steps for strengthening corporate health policies at the global level and establishing good practices in supply chains

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Meridian Group International, Inc.

Meridian Group International, Inc.

Meridian Group International, Inc. is a woman-owned, small business that designs innovative health programs, policies, and partnerships that benefit both business and society.

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