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Field investigations of occupational disease and injury.
Field Epidemiology, 3rd Edition. Gregg MB, ed., New York: Oxford University Press, 2008 Jul; :376-396
Field investigations in the workplace, like all other epidemiologic endeavors, share a reliance on basic methods of epidemiology used wisely as part of logical problem-solving. While one would like to conclude that one only needs professional capability in epidemiology to work successfully in workplace investigations, that would be naive. Little in medical training and probably less in academic epidemiologic training prepare the investigator with a sufficient understanding of chemical toxicities, mechanisms of toxicity, industrial processes and their failures, personal protective devices and their deficiencies. and complex social and political organizations. At a minimum, to work in the occupational arena, one should form a team with an industrial hygienist. Expertise on interpretation of the social and economic complexities of the workplace is more difficult to find. You should avoid advice to stay neutral between the interests of labor and industry. Rather, you should stay dedicated to the goal of prevention. In doing so you will find allies among both labor and industry and probably do an effective job in the epidemiologic investigation.
Epidemiology; Training; Toxicology; Injury-prevention
Book or book chapter
Field Epidemiology, 3rd Edition
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division