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Initial psychological research related to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Cohen A; Margolis B
Am Psychol 1973 Jul; 28(7):600-606
The intent of Public Law 91-596, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for all employees. Applying to all industrial establishments engaged in interstate commerce, the law covers four million places of employment and 57 million workers. The Department of Labor and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, through OSHA, implement and enforce regulations through inspection and citation for violations. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) currently conducts research in several psychological areas. Behavioral and neurophysiological disturbances may occur as the result of exposure to certain chemical agents. Comparison of cognitive, motor, and electromyographic results of subjects with unexposed controls provide measurements of losses of psychomotor functions, and have established standards of safe exposure levels and monitoring procedures. Individual differences give rise to consideration of hypersusceptibility of some workers to specific hazardous substances. Job stress factors, working conditions which, apart from physical or chemical hazards, can disrupt psychological or physiological homeostasis, include information overload, role conflict, and decision-making. Current research aims at correlation of job stress factors with the results of psychological interviews and tests and physiological tests. A crucial area of research is the development of contingency plans for accident control derived from psychological concepts such as learning theory, behavior modification, and human factors engineering, to integrate these theories into a set of strategies for reducing accidents in high- risk occupations.
NIOSH-Author; Behavior; Neurophysiological-effects; Psychological-factors; Research; Standards; Stress; Hazards; Injuries
Alexander Cohen, Behavioral and Motivational Factors Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1014 Broadway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Issue of Publication
Page last reviewed: November 13, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division