The rapid development of workplace health protective and preventive services has been driven by government strategies and recommendations, as well as by the European Union legislation in the areas of health and safety at work and by the European Commission programme in public health. This was also largely due to the new demands and expectations from employers, employees and their representative bodies as they recognize the economic, social and health benefits achieved by providing these services at the workplace, thus providing the available knowledge and evidence necessary for the continuous improvement of workplace health management. Comprehensive workplace health management is a process involving all stakeholders inside and outside any business. It aims at empowering them to take control over their own health and their family's health considering environmental, lifestyle, occupational and social health determinants and quality of health care. It is based on health promotion principles and it creates a great challenge to health, environment and safety professionals providing services, advice, information and education to social partners at work. It involves also taking care of considerable socioeconomic interest of all involved stakeholders. It has been shown in several instances that the business utilizing a well managed research based occupational health service can gain a competitive advantage by:
- Protecting human health against health and safety hazards occurring in the work environment.
- Promoting human health workplaces for all ages and healthy aging by appropriate work culture, work organization and support to social cohesion.
- Promoting mental health, healthy lifestyle and preventing major non-communicable diseases using specific workplace health policies and management tools.
- Maintaining work ability thus also employability throughout working life.
- Reducing health care costs caused by employees' and employers' injuries, diseases, illnesses and premature retirement resulting from or influenced by occupational, environmental, life style and social health determinants
- Using resources effectively, protecting the natural environment and creating a health supportive environment.
- Improving social communication and literacy on health, environment and ethics.