Using OccIDEAS

The two main types of studies which use OccIDEAS are:

 

  1. cross-sectional studies which ask about current exposure in just one job.

  2. case-control studies which ask about exposures in all jobs

 
 
Cross-sectional Studies
 

Control of hazards in the workplace provides one of the few opportunities for prevention of work related disease. In order to improve control we need a better understanding of how many workers are exposed the hazards, in what industries the exposures occur and where control measures are being used.  For prevention purposes, we need to know this for the current workforce, not for exposure in the past.
 
Workplace exposures to chemical and physical hazards are thought to be widespread, but we know very little about them on a population level.  Previous estimates have relied on very old measurement data which are extrapolated to current numbers of workers in different industries, or have only include selected industries (so they miss self-employed workers and small and medium size enterprises which are unlikely to have onsite OHS personnel), or have involved a major effort to source and harmonize data from multiple datasets.
 
OccIDEAS allows researchers and policy makers to determine about who is exposed to hazards, in what industries there are high levels of exposure, and what controls are (or are not) in use.  Our innovative method allows researchers to map exposure to occupational hazards over the whole population.  
 
In Australia, we have undertaken national phone surveys of over 15000 workers using OccIDEAS to map exposure to carcinogens, asthmagens, noise, vibration, and ototoxic chemicals at work.  We have telephoned a random sample of the working population, and For more details on the methodology or results please search PubMed for Fritschi OccIDEAS.

 

 
Case-control Studies

In case-control studies, it’s important to assess the lifetime work history of a person. Most people have multiple jobs, and so it is usually not possible to ask detailed questions of every job because of the time involved.  The processes we have used in our case-control studies are as follows:

Step 1.     Obtain lifetime job history using a questionnaire or table.


Step 2.     Upload job history into OccIDEAS.


Step 3.     Choose up to 5 jobs which could characterise the work history and allocate Job Modules to them.


Step 4.     Interview the person to ask them the Job Modules (or they can self-complete on line) .


Step 5.     OccIDEAS automatically assesses each job for exposure to the agents you are interested in.


Step 6.     You may need to manually review some of the assessments, depending on your agents.


Step 7.     Download excel files of exposure assessments by agent and for each job.