Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Characterizing Occupational Risk Perception: the Case of Biological, Ergonomic and Organizational Hazards in Spanish Healthcare Workers

  • Mariona Portell (a1), Rosa M. Gil (a2), Josep M. Losilla (a1) and Jaume Vives (a1)

Abstract

Understanding how risk is perceived by workers is necessary for effective risk communication and risk management. This study adapts key elements of the psychometric perspective to characterize occupational risk perception at a worker level. A total of 313 Spanish healthcare workers evaluated relevant hazards in their workplaces related to biological, ergonomic and organizational factors. A questionnaire elicited workers' ratings of 3 occupational hazards on 9 risk attributes along with perceived risk. Factor and regression analyses reveal regularities in how different risks are perceived, while, at the same time, the procedure helps to summarize specificities in the perception of each hazard. The main regularity is the weight of feeling of dread/severity in order to characterize the risk perceived (β ranges from .22 to .41; p < .001). Data also suggest an underestimation of expert knowledge in relation to the personal knowledge of risk. Thus, participants consider their knowledge of the risk related to biological, ergonomic, and organizational hazards to be higher than the knowledge attributed to the occupational experts (mean differences 95% CIs [.10, .30], [.54, .94], and [0.52, 1.05]). We demonstrate the application of a feasible and systematic procedure to capture how workers perceive hazards in their immediate work environment.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mariona Portell. Department of Psychobiology and Methodology of Health Sciences. Edificio B. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 08193. Cerdanyola del Vallès (Spain). Phone: +34–935811623. Fax: + 34–935812001. E-mail: mariona.portell@uab.cat

References

Hide All
Alexopoulos, E. C., Kavadi, Z., Bakoyannis, G., & Papantonopoulos, S. (2009). Subjective risk assessment and perception in the Greek and English bakery industries. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2009, Article ID 891754, 8 pp. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/891754
Aragonés, J. I., Moyano, E., & Talayero, F. (2008). Categorizing sources of risk and the estimated magnitude of risk. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 11, 8593.
Benthin, A., Slovic, P., & Severson, H. (1993). A psychometric study of adolescent risk perception. Journal of Adolescence, 16, 153168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jado.1993.1014
Bergman, D., Arnetz, B., Wahlstrom, R., & Sandahl, C. (2007). Effects of dialogue groups on physicians' work environment. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 21, 2738. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14777260710732240
Brewer, N. T., Chapman, G. B., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., McCaul, K. D., & Weinstein, N. D. (2007). Meta-analysis of the relationship between risk perception and health behavior: The example of vaccination. Health Psychology, 26, 136145. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0278-6133.26.2.136
Bronfman, N. C., & Cifuentes, L. A. (2003). Risk perception in a developing country: the case of Chile. Risk Analysis, 23, 12711285. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0272-4332.2003.00400.x
Caponecchia, C., & Sheils, I. (2011). Perceptions of personal vulnerability to workplace hazards in the Australian construction industry. Journal of Safety Research, 42, 253258. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2011.06.006
Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1982). Reliability and validity assessment. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1998). US HIV and AIDS cases reported through December 1998. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1998, 10, 26.
Coles, R., & Hodgkinson, G. P. (2008). A psychometric study of information technology risks in the workplace. Risk Analysis, 28, 8193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2007.00963.x
Conchie, S., M. & Burns, C. (2008). Trust and risk communication in high-risk organization: A test of principles from social risk research. Risk analysis, 28, 141149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2008.01006.x
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2007). E-facts 18: Risk assessment in health care. Bilbao, Spain: Author. Retrieved from http://osha.europa.eu/fop/bulgaria/en/publications/folder.2007-09-21.2042895509/efact18-en.pdf
Fischhoff, B., Bostrom, A., & Quadrel, M. J. (2002). Risk perception and communication. In Detels, R., Mc Ewen, J., & Ommen, G. (Eds.), Oxford textbook of public health (pp.11051123). London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Fischhoff, B., Slovic, P., Lichtenstein, S., Read, S., & Combs, B. (1978). How safe is safe enough? A psychometric study of attitudes towards technological risks and benefits. Policy Sciences, 9, 127152. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00143739
Gabriel, J. (2009). Reducing needlestick and sharps injuries among healthcare workers. Nursing Standard. 23, 4144. http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns2009.02.23.22.41.c6777
Gardner, G. T., & Gould, L. C. (1989). Public perception of the risks and benefits of technology. Risk Analysis, 9, 225242. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1989.tb01243.x
Gershon, R. R. M., Pearson, J. M., Sherman, M. F., Samar, S. M., Canton, A. N., & Stone, P. W. (2009). The prevalence and risk factors for percutaneous injuries in registered nurses in the home health care sector. American Journal of Infection Control, 37, 525533. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2008.10.022
Goldstein, B. D. (2005). Advances in risk assessment and communication. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 141163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.26.021304.144410
Harding, C. M., & Eiser, J. R. (1984). Characterising the perceived risks and benefits of some health issues. Risk Analysis, 4, 131141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1984.tb00942.x
Hogarth, R. M., Portell, M., Cuxart, A., & Kolev, G. I. (2011). Emotion and reason in everyday risk perception. Journal of Behavioral Decision, 24, 202222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdm.689
Holmes, N., Lingard, H., Yesilyurt, Z., & De Munk, F. (1999). An exploratory study of meanings of risk control for long term and acute effect occupational health and safety risks in small business construction firms. Journal of Safety Research, 30, 251261. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-4375(99)00020-1
Hopcia, K., Dennerlein, J. T., Hashimoto, D., Orechia, T., & Sorensen, G. (2012). Occupational injuries for consecutive and cumulative shifts among hospital registered nurses and patient care associates: A case-control study. Workplace Health & Safety, 60, 437444. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/21650799-20120917-39
Jovic-Vranes, A., Jankovic, S., Vukovic, S., Vranes, B., & Miljus, D. (2006). Risk perception and attitudes towards HIV in Serbian health care workers. Occupational Medicine, 56, 275278. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kql019
Kobbeltvedt, T., Brun, W., & Laberg, J. C. (2004). Measuring and modeling risk in a naturalistic setting. Journal of Risk Research, 7, 789810. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1366987042000304854
Kraus, N., Malmfors, T., & Slovic, P. (1992). Intuitive toxicology: Expert and lay judgments of chemical risks. Risk Analysis, 12, 215232. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1992.tb00669.x
Kraus, N. N., & Slovic, P. (1988). Taxonomic analysis of perceived risk: Modeling individual and group perceptions within homogeneous hazard domains. Risk Analysis, 8, 435455. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1988.tb00508.x
Langford, I. H., Marris, C., McDonald, A. L., Goldstein, H., Rasbash, J., & O'Riordan, T. (1999). Simultaneous analysis of individual and aggregate responses in psychometric data using multilevel modeling. Risk Analysis, 19, 675683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1999.tb00437.x
Lee, D. H., Mehta, M. D., & James, P. D. (2003). Differences in the perception of blood transfusion risk between laypeople and physicians. Transfusion, 43, 772778. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1537-2995.2003.00401.x
Loewenstein, G. F., Weber, E. U., Hsee, C. K., & Welch, N. (2001). Risk as feelings. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 267286. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.127.2.267
Marris, C., Langford, I. H., Saunderson, T., & O’Riordan, T. (1997). Exploring the “Psychometric paradigm”: Comparisons between aggregate and individual analyses. Risk Analysis, 17, 303312. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1997.tb00868.x
McGonagle, A. K., & Kath, L. M. (2010). Work-safety tension, perceived risk, and worker injuries: A meso-mediational model. Journal of Safety Research, 41, 475479. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2010.09.002
Mereu, A., Sardu, C., Minerba, L., Sotgiu, A., & Contu, P. (2007). Participative risk communication in an industrial village in Sardinia. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61, 122127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech.2005.043513
Monk, T. H. (1998). Hours of work. In Stellman, J. M. (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety (4 th Ed., pp. 1819). Geneva, Switzerland: International Labor Office.
Ngan, K., Drebit, S., Siow, S., Yu, S., Keen, D., & Alamgir, H. (2010). Risks and causes of musculoskeletal injuries among health care workers. Occupational Medicine, 60, 389394. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqq052
Portell, M., & Solé, M. D. (2001). Riesgo percibido: Un procedimiento de evaluación [The perception of risk: an evaluation procedure]. (NTP 578). Madrid, Spain: Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo.
Puy, A. (1995). Percepción social de los riesgos [Social perception of risks]. Madrid, Spain: Editorial MAPFRE.
Real, K. (2008). Information seeking and workplace safety: A field application of the risk perception attitude framework. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 36, 339359. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00909880802101763
Rohrmann, B. (1999). Risk perception research - Review and documentation. (Studies in Risk Communication No. 68). Juelich, Germany: Research Center Juelich-MUT. Retrieved from http://www.fz-juelich.de/mut/hefte/heft_69.pdf
Rundmo, T. (1995). Perceived risk, safety status and job stress among injured and non-injured employees on offshore petroleum installations. Journal of Safety Research, 26, 8797. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-4375(95)00008-E
Sadhra, S., Petts, J., McAlpine, S., Pattison, H., & MacRae, S. (2002). Workers' understanding of chemical risks: Electroplating case study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59, 689695. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oem.59.10.689
Savadori, L., Savio, S., Nicotra, E., Rumiati, R., Finucane, M., & Slovic, P. (2004). Expert and public perception of risk from biotechnology. Risk Analysis, 24, 12891299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00526.x
Siegrist, M., Keller, C., & Kiers, H. A. L. (2005). A new look at the psychometric paradigm of perception of hazards. Risk Analysis, 25, 211222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0272-4332.2005.00580.x
Sjöberg, L. (1999). Risk perception by the public and by experts: A dilemma in risk management. Human Ecology Review, 6, 19.
Sjöberg, L. (2000). Factors in risk perception. Risk Analysis, 20, 112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0272-4332.00001
Slovic, P. (2000). The perception of risk. London, UK: Earthscan.
Slovic, P. (2010). The feeling of risk. London, UK: Earthscan.
Slovic, P., Finucane, M., Peters, E., & MacGregor, D. (2002). The affect heuristic. In Gilovich, T., Griffin, D., & Kahneman, D. (Eds.), Intuitive Judgment: Heuristics and Biases (pp. 397420). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Slovic, P., Fischhoff, B., & Lichtenstein, S. (1980). Facts and fears: Understanding perceived risk. In Schwing, R. & Albers, W. A. Jr. (Eds.), Societal risk assessment: How safe is safe enough? (pp. 181214). New York, NY: Plenum.
Västfjäll, D., Peters, E., & Slovic, P. (2008). Affect, risk perception and future optimism after the tsunami disaster. Judgment and Decision Making, 3, 6472.
Wilburn, S. Q., & Eijkemans, G. (2004). Preventing needlestick injuries among healthcare workers: A WHO–ICN collaboration. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 10, 451456. http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/oeh.2004.10.4.451
Wirth, O., & Sigurdsson, S. O. (2008). When workplace safety depends on behavior change: Topics for behavioral safety research. Journal of Safety Research, 39, 589598. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2008.10.005

Keywords

Characterizing Occupational Risk Perception: the Case of Biological, Ergonomic and Organizational Hazards in Spanish Healthcare Workers

  • Mariona Portell (a1), Rosa M. Gil (a2), Josep M. Losilla (a1) and Jaume Vives (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed