Frequency of occupational health concerns in general clinics

Philip Harber, Michael Mullin, Brenda Merz, Mahshid Tarazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Studies have suggested that occupational disease and injury are under-recognized by clinicians. To estimate the frequency of occupational factors in disease and injury, 108 patients in a general (not occupational) health care facility were interviewed about the frequency and types of workplace-health interactions. Thirty-nine percent reported possible causation by work, and 66% reported a possible increase in symptoms by work, even if not caused by work. Twenty-seven percent reported changing jobs and/or tasks because of work-health interactions. The majority of men and women reported that worksite changes could improve their functional ability at work. This study therefore indicates that (1) occupational health concerns are common in primary care clinics, even if not addressed by clinicians; (2) the definition of occupational health concerns should be broadened to include disease caused by work, disease symptoms worsened by work, and the need for occupational accommodation even if the disease itself is not caused by work; and (3) inquiring about patient concerns about workplace-health interactions can provide clinicians with significant opportunities for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-945
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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