The development and implementation of policy guidelines for health promotion in the workplace.
Mchunu, Gugu Gladness.
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The three phased study aimed to develop policy guidelines for workplace health promotion based on an exploration of the current status of health promotion in South African workplaces. In the first phase of the study a case study approach was used to analyse the current situation of health promotion in the workplace. For this phase of the study the particular aim was to determine to what extent the participating workplaces were involved in health promotion, or were salutogenic in nature. A total of 6 organizations participated in the first phase of the study, with a total of 258 participants. The second phase aimed at developing policy guidelines for health promotion in the workplace. The consensus method, using the Delphi technique, was used in this phase, involving seven participants who were experts in the field of occupational health and health promotion. The third phase was an observation of the implementation of the policy guidelines. Implementation analysis, which is part of evaluation research, was the methodology used. Two organizations from phase one participated in the implementation phase. In summarising the findings on the current situation of employee health promotion programs the study showed that none of the participating organizations emerged as health promoting workplaces. Organizations that offered employee health promotion/wellness programs mainly focused on individual health and on HIV/AIDS and none of them was found to provide comprehensive holistic programs that aimed at providing healthy work environments. In phase 2 of the study it emerged that there was a very strong concurrence between the findings from the experts and literature in terms of what needs to be included in health promotion policy guidelines. The key elements for health promotion policy documents were (1) organizational philosophy (2) stakeholder involvement and (3) the description of programs to be included in the policy. During the policy implementation process it emerged that different strategies were used in the policy development process. This process was largely influenced by such factors as organizational size, type and internal structures. Recommendations include an emphasis on more legislative support for health promotion in the workplace, and for more concrete aids such as policy guidelines and educational preparation of occupational health professionals for this component of their role.