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An introduction to the NIOSH follow-back program: an evaluation tool for health hazard evaluations.

Snyder E; Sollberger R; Tapp L
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :84-85
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigators conduct on-site evaluations in response to health hazard evaluation (HHE) requests and provide recommendations to address identified hazards. In 1999, NIOSH began an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of HHEs in improving worker health and safety which includes both process and outcome evaluation components. Data are gathered through a series of questionnaires distributed at randomly selected work sites to assess whether the HHE effort resolved identified problems. Obtaining information through questionnaires, however, has limitations. Because NIOSH relies on reports from various people at the facility, the potential exists for conflicting information to be given. Beginning in 2003, on-site follow-back evaluations were conducted to provide NIOSH a direct method for gathering the information needed to determine if improvements have occurred since the issuance of the HHE report and to validate the information obtained by questionnaire. To the extent possible, the on-site follow-back survey replicates the methodology used during the initial evaluation, including process and facility observation, employee interviews, and review of exposure and health records. By documenting what worked and what did not, NIOSH hopes to produce practical information for improving the HHE program and informing other interested parties. This information then becomes a valuable resource for others who play a role in preventing occupational diseases, including unions and the medical community. To date, three on-site follow-back evaluations have been completed. Results from these evaluations indicate that NIOSH recommendations were implemented to various degrees. Examples of specific findings from the selected follow-back evaluations include expedited purchasing of new equipment at a metropolitan sewer district, improvement of engineering controls at a neon sign facility, and general increased exposure awareness at all facilities. The follow-back program will continue to evaluate HHE recommendations to validate questionnaire responses and monitor changes in workplace exposures.
Health-hazards; Worker-health; Questionnaires; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Occupational-diseases; Engineering-controls
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division