Industrial Health
Online ISSN : 1880-8026
Print ISSN : 0019-8366
ISSN-L : 0019-8366
Technical Report
Can Workers Answer Their Questions about Occupational Safety and Health: Challenges and Solutions
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2012 Volume 50 Issue 3 Pages 239-249


Many workers have questions about occupational safety and health (OSH). Answers to these questions empower them to further improve their knowledge about OSH, make good decisions about OSH matters and improve OSH practice when necessary. Nevertheless, many workers fail to find the answers to their questions. This paper explores the challenges workers may face when seeking answers to their OSH questions. Findings suggest that many workers may lack the skills, experience or motivation to formulate an answerable question, seek and find information, appraise information, compose correct answers and apply information in OSH practice. Simultaneously, OSH knowledge infrastructures often insufficiently support workers in answering their OSH questions. This paper discusses several potentially attractive strategies for developing and improving OSH knowledge infrastructures: 1) providing courses that teach workers to ask answerable questions and to train them to find, appraise and apply information, 2) developing information and communication technology tools or facilities that support workers as they complete one or more stages in the process from question to answer and 3) tailoring information and implementation strategies to the workers’ needs and context to ensure that the information can be applied to OSH practice more easily.

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© 2012 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
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