Work histories - evaluating new participatory methods.
NIOSH 1999 Dec :1-29
Worker medical or monitoring records, commonly available for production workers are virtually non-existent for construction workers hired on an as-needed basis at Department of Energy sites. Construction workers at nuclear weapons production sites can be exposed to a wide range of hazards including radiation, toxic chemicals, and noise. Worker recall of exposures is difficult because the sites are very large, may have hundreds of buildings or work sites. In addition, construction workers may not be familiar with the health effects of the materials in the workplace to which they are exposed, and national security secrecy regulations prevented workers from discussing their experiences with others. A comprehensive database (institutional history) of buildings and other sites at the Oak Ridge Reservation was assembled. It provides information that describes potential health hazards to workers for use in evaluating potential exposures. Traditional occupational history interviews were conducted initially with one group of carpenters. Another group of carpenters was interviewed using various prompts (photos, or maps or focus groups of persons likely to have worked in similar locations). Of these methods, site maps were found to provide a significant improvement in recalling information concerning where they had worked. A validation study was conducted with former Oak Ridge Reservation construction workers comprised of several crafts in addition to carpenters. This study demonstrated that site maps are a powerful memory trigger significantly improving recall of sites where an individual worked. These findings are extremely valuable in determining workplace exposures of construction trades where exposure assessments are lacking.
Construction-workers; Nuclear-hazards; Toxic-materials; Noise-exposure; Health-hazards; Exposure-levels; Surveillance-programs
Final Grant Report
Research Tools and Approaches: Surveillance Research Methods
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio