Introduction The History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases project highlights an important challenge facing the occupational safety and health community. As the web archive states, ‘The history of occupational and environmental medicine is rich, but has largely been relegated to passing notice or ignored altogether, even by specialists in the field.’ On the rare occasion occupational and environmental disease history is mentioned, it is most often limited to biographical sketches and references—not complete profiles of individuals who have made significant contributions nor the actual documentation and/or publication of their work. Thus, the extraordinary evolution and influence of history upon contemporary science and practice may not be fully appreciated and could potentially be lost to future generations of workplace health and safety researchers and practitioners.
Methods Join us as we explore this phenomenon and engage one another in identifying key resources and platforms for the selection, archival, and preservation of the essential historical resources connecting our past to the present day. In this workshop, we will reflect on the merits of establishing a centralised database for historical documents, share choices in personal archival methodology and technology, fully explore The History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases web archive project, and provide practical hand-on experience in the archival of one’s own content. In preparation, workshop participants are urged to bring three pieces of informational content (i.e., paper documents or electronic publications) to contribute to the archive.
Results This workshop will highlight the significance of historical preservation and impart methodology, technology, and best practices for the archival of historical documents. Through practical experience in contributing content to a centralised platform, participants will learn the steps necessary to establish one’s own strategy for archival.
Conclusion Our goal is to reintroduce historic research into the occupational safety and health community—saving valuable time and resources spent to rediscover historical significance. A concerted effort to preserve and share accrued knowledge will afford current and future generations with the opportunity to more fully explore historic ‘windows of influence’ and lessons learned, providing foundational elements upon which to discover future avenues for the reduction of harmful occupational exposures and improved worker protection across the U.S. and around the world.
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