High-Risk Jobs and High-Risk Populations

This topic area brings together research from a variety of disciplines to address occupational stress and work organization for all workers in hazardous occupations, including high risk populations of workers who may be disproportionately exposed to workplace hazards. Hazardous work environments include:

  • agriculture, forestry including logging, and fishing,

  • construction, including disaster recovery,

  • emergency response, including firefighters and police,

  • health care settings, including preparation for unknown exposures and pandemic flu,

  • manufacturing, including refining and sawmill operations,

  • military occupations,

  • mining, including specialized mine emergency response,

  • service sector occupations exposed to criminal behavior and violence,

  • transport, including by air, water, and land, and

  • materials handling.

The primary focus of this topic area is on hazardous work environments and on worker populations that may be disproportionately exposed to such environments.

Hazardous Work Environments

Characteristics of hazardous work environments may converge with several other conference topics, for example:

6. Workplace Violence

9. Work Schedules and Flexible Work Arrangements

11. Work Design and Worker Health

12. Worker Control and Working Conditions

14. Traumatic Stress and Resilience for Workers in Hazardous Occupations and Disaster Relief Operations

16. Sleep, Fatigue, and Work

20. Safety Climate, Management, & Training 

High Risk Populations

Characteristics of high risk populations may also converge with other conference topics, for example:

4. Minority and Immigrant Workers

5. Workplace Diversity and Discrimination

17. Aging and Work Stress

Presentations that focus on hazardous work environments, including the effects of those hazards on worker populations and best practices, other interventions, or workplace training curricula to reduce hazardous exposures are encouraged to select this topic as primary. Presentations that focus on specific conditions of the organization of work that may exacerbate risk in a hazardous setting, for example long hours, will select this topic as secondary.

Sample Relevant Topics

a. Workload planning and worker education to reduce exposure to pesticides among Spanish- speaking migrant farmworkers.

b. Training ordinary miners and mining first responders in self-rescue and crew safety.

c. Cross-cultural challenges for safety on the construction site.

d. Workforce in transition: passing on safety lessons from veteran workers to apprentices.

e. Self-identification of fatigue in the transport industry: training truck drivers to decide to rest.

f. Promoting crew-based safety climate in the face of production pressures and other competitive demands.

g. Hazard recognition: predicting and ameliorating hazards and establishing a positive safety climate.

h. Communicating hazards and risks to a multi-cultural workforce.