Health and Wellbeing Index wins key occupational health award

RSSB’s Health and Wellbeing Index (HWI) won the Best Multidisciplinary Initiative at the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Plus Awards this week.

Created by health economists with rail body RSSB, the index allows organisations to calculate the impact of health and wellbeing risks to employees, and compare health-based investment choices and decisions.

The HWI works in a similar way to the better-known FWI (Fatalities and Weighted Injuries) measure used in safety analysis and decision making.

Launched in September, the award-winning HWI has been piloted with Network Rail, VolkerRail, occupational health teams at two train operators and a large construction company. More companies are signing up to use the HWI all the time.

Health and wellbeing risks put pressure on both the employees’ own wellbeing as well the organisation’s ability to operate. By using the HWI tool, companies can get an objective assessment of the options and see more clearly how health compares to other safety considerations and competing calls on budget.

Collaboration has been a key feature of the award-winning work. It was sponsored by the cross-industry Rail Wellbeing Alliance, which addresses the health and wellbeing challenges in industry’s shared strategy: Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railways. The HWI work has also involved Department for Transport, Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Rail and Road and Leeds University’s Institute for Transport Studies.

The award means the HWI has won recognition from peers in occupational health, and could lead to even more take-up by rail companies. Judges described the initiative as “much needed”, adding, “the creation of the index illustrates how, by working together, the rail industry has brought a new focus to health and wellbeing, one that, I am sure, will bring considerable long-term dividends.

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