Publication
Title
Workers' perception of chemical risks : a focus group study
Author
Abstract
Workers perceptions with respect to health and safety at work are rarely taken into account when considering the development of prevention programs. The aim of this study was to explore workers perceptions of chemical risks at the workplace, in order to investigate the prerequisites for a workplace health program. A qualitative study was conducted involving seven focus groups of 510 participants (blue-collar workers) each. All groups were homogeneous in terms of sex, work status, language, and company membership. Results showed that several factors have an important influence on workers perception of chemical risks. Workers assess risks by means of both sensory and empirical diagnosis and are concerned about the long-term health consequences. They perceive the threat of chemical risks as high. Despite this, they are resigned to accepting the risks. Existing formal sources of information are rarely consulted because they are judged to be difficult to understand and not user friendly. Instead, workers tend to obtain information from informal sources. Communication problems with and lack of trust in prevention advisers and hierarchy are frequently mentioned. Workers feel that their specific knowledge of their working conditions and their proposals for practical, cost-effective solutions to improve health and safety at the workplace are insufficiently taken into account. The use of focus groups yielded a useful insight into workers perceptions of chemical risks. Our findings suggest that training programs for prevention advisers should include topics such as understanding of workers perceptions, usefulness of a participatory approach, and communication and education skills.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Risk analysis / Society for Risk Analysis [New York] - New York
Publication
New York : 2011
ISSN
0272-4332
Volume/pages
32:2(2011), p. 335-342
ISI
000287771800015
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 12.04.2011
Last edited 23.06.2017
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