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Using OccIDEAS

OccIDEAS (Occupational Integrated Database Exposure Assessment System)


OccIDEAS is a web-based application which is used to assess occupational exposure in epidemiological studies. It provides assessments of the likelihood of exposure to specific agents for each job on an individual basis. The process involves three steps:

  • determining the job category for a person’s job

  • asking a set of questions (a module) about tasks which are specific for that job

  • automatically assessing exposure to your selected agents using preprogrammed algorithms

  • allowing manual review of those assessments.


Instead of using self-reported exposure to agents or a generic exposure estimate based solely on job titles, OccIDEAS modules incorporates specific tasks a worker performs in their job and OccIDEAS uses this information to make individualized exposure assessments.


Assessments of exposure to an agent are based on the answers to the questions in a module which feed into algorithms running behind the scenes in OccIDEAS. The algorithms are developed by occupational hygienist and experts based on the literature, talking to industry specialists and their own experience. The rules are specific to a module and an agent.


To use OccIDEAS you simply need to specify what agents you are interested in (or we can help you decide) and we provide you with your own customized application you can use to interview subjects. The end product is a spreadsheet with variables for the amount of agent exposure for each job for each subject.


In the current OccIDEAS, there are over 50 modules (e.g. Chef cook, Construction, Driver, Health workers, Farmers) and more than 50 agents (e.g. diesel exhaust, silica, formaldehyde, pesticides, ionizing radiation, shift work, noise, latex ) to suit your research interest.

Underlying principles

OccIDEAS is more than a stand-alone application, it is a package solution which encompasses three main aspects:


  1. The provision of the application including the current content 

  2. Customizing OccIDEAS for the client’s particular requirements

  3. Supporting the use of OccIDEAS through the life of the study

This is necessary because every study is unique and OcciDEAS was designed as a dynamic tool to be tailor fit to each study. OccIDEAS has successfully supported over 10 scientific research studies since 2008 and every study  required some level of new functionalities, process enhancements, and changes to the code and the content.

The package solution is delivered as a collaboration between the OccIDEAS team and the Study team.  Primarily, support for the users of OccIDEAS comes from Troy Sadkowsky for technical aspects and Lin Fritschi for content aspects.
In the collaboration, the OccIDEAS team provide the application and the current content to the Study team.  Updates and improvements which the Study team require are developed collaboratively between the two teams. Those updates and improvements are then made available within OccIDEAS for use in future versions of OccIDEAS and for future studies.

Ways the OccIDEAS team supports the Study Team

Content support may include:

  • Choosing agents of interest

  • Adding new agents

  • Adapting the job modules and the methods to choose the right job module

  • Tailoring the questions for your circumstances (changing, adding, deleting)

  • Explaining the evidence behind the questions and rules

  • Making changes in the questions and rules to suit the local industrial landscape

  • Assisting with translations

  • Providing user manuals tailored for the study 

  • Assisting with assessment

  • Assisting with data queries

Technical support may include:

  • Hosting instances of OccIDEAS

  • Maintenance and backup

  • Trouble shooting

  • Developing new functionalities

  • Training IT support staff

  • Issue management 


IP Clarification
Copyright to OccIDEAS code is held by the open source developers of the OccIDEAS team.
Copyright to the questions, answers and rules is held by OccIDEAS Pty Ltd.

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