Association of the Health-promoting Workplace with Trade Unionism and Other Industrial Factors

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Purpose. The study examines associations of five healthy workplace attributes with trade unionism and nine other industrial and sociodemographic factors. The aims were to illustrate the measurement of workplace health promotion indicators in Western Australia and to identify associations leading to a better understanding of determinants of the healthy workplace.Design. Personal and telephone cross-sectional surveys were performed using population-based sampling frames. The overall response rate was 72%.Setting. Workplaces in Western Australia.Subjects. Random samples of household respondents aged 16 to 69 years in 1992 (n = 1310) and 1994 (n = 1113).Measures. Measures of association between healthy workplace attributes and trade unionism were adjusted for workplace location, size, sector; and industrial classification.Results. Trade unionism was strongly associated with healthy catering practices (adjust ed OR 2.05; 95% CI 1.30 to 3.23), sun protection practices (2.66; 1.69 to 4.17), disability access (1.47; 1.10 to 1. 95), and worksite health promotion programs (2.56; 2.07 to 3.17). A weak and nonsignificant association was observed with restrictive smoking policies (1.21; .95 to 1.55). Generally, healthy workplace attributes were reported less often by respondents working in rural locations, in the private sector and at small worksites. There was no consistent relationship with sociodemographic factors, including an index of social disadvantage, but members of blue-collar occupations experienced a low prevalence of restrictive smoking policies.Conclusions. The study raises the hypothesis, but cannot confirm, that trade unions could provide a means for employees to pursue the creation of a health-promoting workplace. Small business represents an excellent target for health promotion activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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