Creating safer and healthier workplaces: role of organizational factors and job characteristics

Am J Ind Med. 2001 Sep;40(3):319-34. doi: 10.1002/ajim.1106.


Background: A comprehensive understanding of workplace organizational risk factors for illness and injury and interventions to alleviate these factors is important for workplace prevention efforts.

Methods: We summarize the evidence for the role of workplace organizational factors and work factors in occupational health and safety (OHS). To the extent possible, we concentrate on factors at the level of the workplace, rather than the level of the individual.

Results: Three types of outcomes are considered: injuries, ill-health, and musculoskeletal problems; and we note the evidence for their relationship to work. We review workplace interventions intended to alleviate each type of outcome and note methodological limitations of previous research.

Conclusions: Despite the methodological limitations, the balance of the literature supports the work-relatedness of the three types of outcomes, although questions remain about exact mechanisms and the effectiveness of specific interventions. We discuss barriers to and incentives for creating safer and healthier workplaces.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases* / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Occupational Diseases* / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health*
  • Risk Factors
  • Workplace