Interventions for safe and healthy work

Abstract: The general aim of this thesis was to contribute to the research-based knowledge about associations 1) between individual psychological and social factors, respectively, and activity in safety work; 2) between general characteristics of working-environment change processes, on the one hand, and working environment characteristics, and health-related symptoms, on the other; 3) between working life interventions and activity to modify the working environment, working environment characteristics, and health-related symptoms.Associations between psychological and social factors, respectively, and activity in safety work were explored in a questionnarie study among Swedish fishermen. The results indicated that the perceived manageability of risks was positively associated with activity in safety work. Association with activity in safety work could not be demonstrated for injury/near-injury event experience, perceived personal risk, risk acceptance, fatalism, or general technical competence.A group-based intervention method for increased activity in safety work was tested among Swedish fishermen. It was based on structured documentation of injury events and group discussions, in order to identify potential for improved safety. The study was based on observational, interview, and longitudinal questionnaire data. The results suggested that structured documentation and discussions made safety problems but also difficulties associated with preventive work more explicit. Effective cooperation between participants and technical experts seemed beneficial in order to stimulate preventive activity. Associations between degree of worker participation in working environment change processes, and integration of quality/productivity/organization issues and working environment issues, on the one hand, and working environment and health outcomes, on the other, were studied in a questionnaire study among Swedish VDU-users. The results indicated that higher degrees of worker participation and integration were associated with lower psychological job demands, higher social support, and less stress. With decision latitude, musculoskeletal complaints, comfort during work, and quality of modifications in the working environment, associations were weaker and less reliable. The results suggested that participation and integration were not strong independent predictors for more positive working environment conditions generally. Effects of a feedback intervention, on activity to modify the working environment, quality of modifications, psychosocial factors, comfort during VDU-work, emotional stress, and musculoskeletal symptoms, were studied in a cluster randomized controlled trial among Swedish VDU-users. Three feedback variants were tested: To individual workers, to group supervisors individually, or to entire workgroups including supervisor. A simple one session feedback method was used. Results indicated positive effect with respect to activity to modify workplace design and working technique in all feedback variants. Positive effect with respect to activity to modify psychosocial aspects, and social support, was observed only from feedback to supervisors.

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