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Intervention development in occupational research: an example from the printing industry
  1. T P Brown1,
  2. L Rushton1,
  3. H C Williams2,
  4. J S C English2
  1. 1MRC Institute for Environment and Health, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Department of Dermatology, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr T P Brown
 Epidemiology and Statistics, Health and Safety Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton SK17 9JN, UK; terry.brown{at}


Background: Intervention development research is an essential prerequisite of any study that attempts to determine whether specific interventions work to prevent work related injury and illness.

Methods: Focus groups (n = 5) and direct observational studies (n = 21) of printers were used to elicit key issues that would aid the development of subsequent interventions. Transcripts from these were analysed by standard qualitative methods to identify common and related themes.

Results: The views of managers differed significantly from those of print workers in a number of areas, and working practices did not always follow policy. The majority of printers did not perceive dermatitis to be a major problem, although many complained of dry hands. Other key results included: the lack of skin care policy in most companies; poor understanding of the nature, causes, and treatment of dermatitis; low priority of dermatitis within health and safety concerns; little or no provision of occupational health services, particularly skin checks; variability in provision of and access to appropriate skin protection; and lack of accessible washing facilities.

Conclusions: As a result it was decided to evaluate the implementation of four interventions: provision of (1) skin checks and treatment advice; (2) gloves of the correct type and size, and use of an after-work cream; (3) information on dermatitis within the printing industry; and (4) development of best practice skin care policy.

  • intervention development
  • occupational research
  • occupational contact dermatitis
  • printing

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  • Funding: this study was jointly funded by the UK Health and Safety Executive and the British Skin Foundation

  • Competing interests: none declared