2021 Volume 3 Issue 1
Introduction: This study aims to clarify whether the competencies required of occupational health professionals for disaster management, identified from experiences in a single disaster, can be agreed upon by occupational health professionals with experience in other disaster responses. Methods: This study employed a quantitative study design using a questionnaire. The participants were occupational health professionals. The questionnaire included 29 competencies identified from the experiences of occupational health activities conducted during the Kumamoto earthquake. Items were rated from 1 (not necessary at all) to 5 (very necessary) by the participants. Exploratory factor analysis of the responses was performed. Result: The participants were 334 (29.9%), of which 97 (29.0%) answered that they had disaster response experience. Factor analysis was performed by setting three factors for 22 items. Factors 1, 2, and 3 were labeled “skills about coordinating within the organization,” “practical ability to respond to changing situations,” and “consistency as occupational health professionals,” respectively. Discussion: In the event of a disaster, occupational health professionals are required to ensure their own safety, grasp the occupational health needs changing over time, and make decisions based on changing situations. The study suggests that a disaster response is a rare experience even for specialists in occupational health. To enable them to appropriately play their roles in occupational health response during disasters, a system of education aimed at maintaining coherence as the occupational health profession and demonstrating coordinating and practical skills in the event of a disaster should be established.