Background and aims: Workplace intervention studies play an important role in supporting and complementing scientific validation of non-intervention assessments of the effectiveness of risk management measures (RMMs) under controlled conditions. We are reviewing a collection of published workplace intervention studies with particular focus on studies assessing changes in occupational exposure to hazardous substances with a broad scope spanning a variety of approaches in different industries.
Methods Workplace interventions were defined as events aimed at reducing occupational exposure to hazardous substances at the workplace or where reductions occurred as a side effect, e.g. due to changes in the production process. Intervention studies published in English from 1999 up to January 2017 were considered for inclusion based on a systematic search of Pubmed.
Results In total 50 intervention studies have been included in this review including, but not limited to, studies in the metal industry (10), hospitals (4), bakeries (3), on welding (6), or dust in construction (4). Overall the interventions reviewed have succeeded at reducing exposure levels.
Conclusion There is evidence that decreases in workplace exposure levels to hazardous substances followed a variety of workplace interventions in a variety of industries underlining the benefits of implementing RMMs at workplaces. However, a direct comparison of a specific RMM among different studies, even when focussing on one specific industry, remains difficult as the majority of studies assessed a set of different RMMs; hence the quantification of the impact of individual interventions on exposure remains difficult due to the heterogeneity in methods.
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