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wholesale and retail trade


Outcomes are events, occurrences, or conditions that indicate progress in achieving the purpose of the program. Outcomes reflect the results of a program activity compared with its intended purpose; or, outcomes may answer the question "Will these resources result in success or contribute to the success of what we want to accomplish?"

Outcomes can be viewed from two different perspectives-ultimate and intermediate. For an occupational safety and health research program like the NIOSH Wholesale and Retail Trade Program, ultimate outcomes are reductions in a particular type of worker injury or illness. Injuries and illnesses have complex causes, and any effect of program activities on rates can take years to be seen. Therefore, outcomes are often measured on an intermediate timeframe. Intermediate outcomes are necessary steps that lead to ultimate outcomes-for example, reductions in the risk of a particular type of injury or illness. For occupational safety and health research programs, achieving intermediate risk reductions is as important as achieving the ultimate outcome of decreasing injury and illness incidence rates.

The normal progression of research that leads to meaningful outcomes develops over years. As noted, "Outcomes reflect the result of program activity compared to its intended purpose." The first step is the formation of a research agenda. The agenda must include research studies that when completed will reduce the level of uncertainty regarding the cause(s) of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. In this sector, successful outcomes will be measures that show a reduction in injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the trade sector. Such outcomes, however, are dependent upon a research agenda that leads to validated recommendations for prevention and control. Examples of successful intermediate and ultimate outcomes are provided below for the prevention of workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses among workers in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector.

Research Goal: Reduction of fatalities among workers in convenience/gas station stores

Intermediate Outcome: As a result of research program on violence avoidance, all workers in NAICS 447 were given training to identify work situations where they would be vulnerable to assault.

Ultimate Outcome: Fatalities were reduced by 60% in NAICS 447.

Research Goal: Reduction of injuries (slips and falls) among order pickers in grocery warehouse

Intermediate Outcome: As a result of research on the causes of slips and falls in warehouse distribution centers, nonskid mats were installed in work areas and aisles where order pickers handled liquid materials.

Ultimate Outcome: Slips and falls were reduced by 40% among order pickers in grocery warehouses.

Research Goal: Reduction of worker exposure to wood dust in retail lumber stores

Intermediate Outcome: As a result of ventilation studies, an improved dust exhaust hood was installed in all of the retail lumber stores.

Ultimate Outcome: Worker illness reports of lung disorders decreased by 40% in retail lumber stores.