Encyclopedia of health communication. Thompson TL, ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2014 May; 3:1474-1477
In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that half the population of the United States-approximately 154 million people-were employed in the public- and private-sector labor force. Each day, a significant number of these individuals suffer injury, disability, and death from workplace incidents. Given that workplace injuries and illnesses are largely foreseeable and preventable, workplace safety and health (also referred to as occupational safety and health, or OSH) is a broad discipline concerned with protecting the safety, health, and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. Professionals in this field include industrial hygienists, occupational health physicians, occupational health nurses, occupational safety and health specialists (e.g., certified safety specialists, safety engineers), epidemiologists, ergonomists, occupational health psychologists, and health communicators. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers in the United States are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, free of known and recognizable hazards. Workplace safety and health depends upon an adequate understanding of job-related hazards by all participants in the workforce, and effective communication is vital to this understanding. This includes, but is not limited to, the availability, comprehension, and use of safety information and organizations' inclination to address safety issues through training, health and safety campaigns, and other means. In short, communication in the workplace can serve as an interpretative frame through which to promote health and safety-related protections, intentions, and motivations. This entry provides a brief background of the prevalence of workplace injury and illnesses in the United States, describes the critical role of health communication in OSH in preventing job-related morbidity and mortality, provides examples of risk communication in the workplace, and discusses some methods and theories underlying effective risk communication in and for organizations.
Workers; Work-environment; Humans; Men; Women; Injuries; Diseases; Preventive-medicine; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Health-protection; Health-programs; Industrial-hygienists; Medical-personnel; Nurses; Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Psychology; Training; Education; Hazards; Morbidity-rates; Mortality-rates; Risk-factors