Towards a Standardized Approach for Behavior Change in 21st Century Occupational HealthJennifer Lunt*
Health and Safety Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, United Kingdom
- *Corresponding Author:
- Jennifer Lunt
Health and Safety Laboratory
Harpur Hill, Buxton, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1298-218373
Fax: +44 (0)1298-218751
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: May 20, 2013; Accepted date: June 12, 2013; Published date: June 14, 2013
Citation: Lunt J (2013) Towards a Standardized Approach for Behavior Change in 21st Century Occupational Health. Occup Med Health Aff 1:119. doi: 10.4172/2329-6879.1000119
Copyright: © 2013 Lunt J. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Not all occupational health risks can be designed out of the workplace. Even with a full complement of protective measures, workers may intentionally or unintentionally behave in such a way that harms their health. This makes understanding the constituents of an effective behavioral change intervention an essential feature of occupational health management. Acquiring this understanding is thwarted in the current occupational health and safety evidence base by (a) an inaccurate assumption health should be managed in the same way as safety; (b) inadequate awareness and coverage of established behavioral determinants, and (c) under reporting of how interventions were designed and implemented. Within public health concerted efforts are underway to standardize behavior change intervention design and reporting at an international level so that a more reliable and informative evidence base can be accrued that permits efficient targeting of resource. This paper makes the case for instigating a similar process in occupational health. Given the diversity of behaviors across different work contexts and hazards, a potential solution for striking a balance between design consistency and relevance is made. This is based on grouping contemporary occupational health conditions according to common behavioral determinants, and targeting approaches at those shared determinants. Developing a more standardized approach to behavior change in occupational health is essential for optimizing prevention of avoidable occupational illnesses, and in preventing sickness absence from other work-relevant conditions over whose incidence the workplace has limited control.