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Open Access Study protocol

A trial of a job-specific workers' health surveillance program for construction workers: study protocol

Julitta S Boschman1*, Henk F van der Molen12, Cor van Duivenbooden2, Judith K Sluiter1 and Monique HW Frings-Dresen1

Author Affiliations

1 Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Department: Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2 Arbouw, Dutch Health & Safety Institute in the Construction Industry, Harderwijk, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:743  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-743

Published: 29 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Dutch construction workers are offered periodic health examinations. This care can be improved by tailoring this workers health surveillance (WHS) to the demands of the job and adjust the preventive actions to the specific health risks of a worker in a particular job. To improve the quality of the WHS for construction workers and stimulate relevant job-specific preventive actions by the occupational physician, we have developed a job-specific WHS. The job-specific WHS consists of modules assessing both physical and psychological requirements. The selected measurement instruments chosen, are based on their appropriateness to measure the workers' capacity and health requirements. They include a questionnaire and biometrical tests, and physical performance tests that measure physical functional capabilities. Furthermore, our job-specific WHS provides occupational physicians with a protocol to increase the worker-behavioural effectiveness of their counselling and to stimulate job-specific preventive actions. The objective of this paper is to describe and clarify our study to evaluate the behavioural effects of this job-specific WHS on workers and occupational physicians.

Methods/Design

The ongoing study of bricklayers and supervisors is a nonrandomised trial to compare the outcome of an intervention (job-specific WHS) group (n = 206) with that of a control (WHS) group (n = 206). The study includes a three-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure is the proportion of participants who have undertaken one or more of the preventive actions advised by their occupational physician in the three months after attending the WHS. A process evaluation will be carried out to determine context, reach, dose delivered, dose received, fidelity, and satisfaction. The present study is in accordance with the TREND Statement.

Discussion

This study will allow an evaluation of the behaviour of both the workers and occupational physician regarding the preventive actions undertaken by them within the scope of a job-specific WHS.

Trial registration

NTR3012