Review of preventative behavioural interventions for dermal and respiratory hazards

Occup Med (Lond). 2011 Aug;61(5):311-20. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqr099.


Background: No previous systematic review of the evidence base has been undertaken to help occupational health professionals understand how to reliably lower the instance of occupational ill-health through reducing risk-taking behaviour.

Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness and processes of occupational-based behavioural interventions for workers exposed to dermal and respiratory hazards.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted. Sixteen electronic databases were searched using key words. Bibliography, health and safety websites and hand searches of key journals were also undertaken. Articles were included if they evaluated an intervention targeting workers' behavioural compliance, addressed dermal or respiratory hazards, used before and after measures with a control group comparison and used behaviour-related exposure indicators such as airborne exposure, health effects, behaviour observations and self-reported work practices. Data were extracted according to potential sources of bias, impact and behavioural change processes used.

Results: Ten of 550 articles identified as potentially relevant were included. A predominance of small effect sizes, particularly for larger samples, demonstrated limited but positive impact upon exposure. Studies contained too much heterogeneity for reliable meta-analysis. None of the studies covered the full range of behaviour change components necessary for reducing exposure risk.

Conclusions: We conclude that future interventions could enhance their effectiveness through improving design quality, reporting and basing their content upon evidence-based behavioural change approaches. Using a comprehensive range of evidence-informed behaviour change ingredients should improve occupational health professional's ability to reliably reduce occupational ill-health where exposure cannot totally be designed out of the workplace.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Workplace