Introduction Intervention studies play an important role in supporting and complementing scientific validation of results of non-intervention assessments of the efficacy of risk management measures (RMMs) under controlled conditions. We are reviewing a collection of published workplace intervention studies with particular focus on studies assessing the impact of the implementation of RMMs on changes in occupational exposure to hazardous substances with a very broad scope spanning a variety of approaches at a variety of workplaces in different industries.
Methods Workplace interventions were defined as events aimed at reducing occupational exposure to hazardous substances at the workplace due to a change in RMMs 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. However, a direct comparison of a specific RMM among different studies, even when focussing on one specific sector of industry, remains difficult due to the heterogeneity in assessment methods; in addition, the quantification of the impact of individual interventions on exposure remains difficult as the majority of studies assessed the implementation of a set of different RMMs.
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.
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