Background: Systematic assessments of the effectiveness of interventions to prevent work related eye injuries are needed.
Aim: To investigate the long term effectiveness of a multicomponent prevention campaign.
Methods: The campaign (conducted in collaboration with the local Employers’ Association and Trade Unions) targeted all 237 metal-ware factories in the district of Imola, Italy. Based on preliminary inspections, the main intervention included distribution to all factories of specific educational brochures and broadcasting/publication of television/radio programmes and local newspaper articles containing expert advice on the subject. This was followed by a four year “post-intervention reinforcement” period of unannounced official inspections. Main outcome measures analysed were eye injury rates (versus non-eye injury rates) among metal workers during “pre-intervention” (1988–90), “peri-intervention” (1991–92), “post-intervention reinforcement” (1993–96), “late post-intervention” (1997–2000), and “very late post-intervention” (2001–03) periods with respect to two comparison sectors (construction and wood/ceramics).
Results: A Poisson regression in which the eye injury rates were modelled for each sector, period, and interaction, adjusting for non-eye injury rates, was chosen. The periods did not by themselves determine an overall reduction in eye injuries. The period/sector interaction terms were related to significant reductions for the metal sector when crossed with the “post-intervention reinforcement” (IRR = 0.77, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.97; % decline = 23.4), the “late post-intervention” (IRR = 0.63, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.79; % decline = 37.4), and the “very late post-intervention” (IRR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.77; % decline = 42.4) periods, suggesting a sustained reduction in eye injury risk following the main intervention.
Conclusion: Results suggest that a carefully coordinated, extensive, multicomponent intervention can lead to lasting reductions in the burden of eye injuries.
- eye injuries
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Competing interests: none declared