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Worker awareness of exposure: Industries and occupations with low awareness.

Behrens-VJ; Brackbill-RM
Am J Ind Med 1993 May; 23(5):695-701
A study of industries and occupations in which workers had low awareness of potentially hazardous exposures was conducted. Data obtained in the 1985 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey (HPDP survey) and the National Occupational Exposure Survey (NOES) conducted in 1981 to 1983 were utilized. The HPDP survey evaluated the perceptions of 33,630 workers randomly selected from a range of industries and occupations in the United States (US) about their exposures to potential occupational hazards. The NOES was a study of 4,490 worksites in the US statistically selected to represent most workers covered by OSHA regulations. Actual exposures to chemical and physical agents in the workplaces were determined. The data were analyzed to determine the industries and occupations in which the workers had low perceptions of their exposure to hazardous agents. The industries and occupations were ranked according to the largest positive difference between the proportion of workers actually exposed and those perceiving hazardous exposures. Hospitals represented the industry with the largest difference, 62%, between the proportion of workers exposed to hazardous chemical agents and those perceiving exposure. Radiologic technicians had the greatest discrepancy between actual and perceived exposure to chemical agents; apparel and accessories manufacturing and roofers the greatest discrepancy between actual and perceived noise exposures; services to houses and other buildings and helper in construction trades the greatest difference between actual and perceived vibrational exposures; and blast furnaces and other metallurgical processing and clinical laboratory worker the greatest discrepancy between actual and perceived radiation exposure. The authors conclude that workers employed in hospitals and in construction jobs are the least informed about their exposure to potentially hazardous chemical and physical agents.
NIOSH-Author; Job-analysis; Epidemiology; Occupational-hazards; Information-systems; Risk-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Noise-exposure; Health-care-personnel; Construction-industry; Radiation-exposure
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine