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Psychology in health risk messages for workers.

Cohen A; Colligan MJ; Berger P
J Occup Med 1985 Aug; 27(8):543-551
Guidelines for shaping company health messages to enhance worker understanding of job hazards and health risks are discussed. The impetus for developing such guidelines originated with the realization that traditional company communications on occupational safety and health were not very effective psychologically as they were usually based only on concerns for technical accuracy and legal liability. The guidelines were developed by an advisory panel consisting of specialists who had expertise in such areas as risk perception, behavioral medicine, reading education, and organizational psychology. Fourteen guidelines in five categories were developed: orientation and perspective, background preparation, message content or structure, delivery, and evaluation. Orientation and perspective guidelines acknowledge the workers right to know workplace hazards and risks and integrate health risk messages into other informational or educational activities. Guidelines in the background preparation category establish target work groups and fit messages to the demographic makeup of the target audience. Guidelines in the content/structure category deal with the composition of the message once the preparatory work has been done. The delivery guidelines stress the use of multiple messages at intermittent intervals rather than mass single dose transmissions. The evaluation guideline provides a means for assessing the effect of the message in meeting its intended goals. Examples of effective health risk messages are given.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Author; Occupational-hazards; Workers; Equipment-design; Work-analysis; Psychology; Health-services; Occupational-exposure; Hazards; Industrial-environment; Behavioral-testing; Gloves
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Journal Article
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Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division