programs address the influence of physical (e.g., noise, extreme temperatures), chemical, ergonomic, and psychosocial work hazards on employee health. According to Goldenhar and Schulte (1994), OSH programs can involve three strategies: engineering, administrative, and behavior change, used to address the different targets for organizational change presented in Figure 6-1. Engineering strategies modify technology or physical setting; administrative strategies modify the organizing arrangements or social factors; and behavior change strategies target beliefs, attitudes, and skills.
Examples of behavior change interventions in OSH include training to increase compliance with safety practices (Parkinson et al., 1989), use of personal protective equipment (Ewigman et al., 1990), and exercise to prevent occupationally related back injuries (Silverstein et al., 1988). Those interventions tend to focus almost exclusively on individual-level change (Goldenhar and Schulte, 1994). Strategies to enhance compliance with universal precautions among health care workers provide a case in point. Although descriptive research clearly indicates the influence of organizational safety climate and work task design on compliance rates, most interventions have targeted only individual employee knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors for change (DeJoy et al., 1995; Gershon et al., 1995).
Few OSH interventions address more than a single type of environmental exposure or use more than a single intervention strategy. However, no matter the exposure or strategy used, organizational change principles are needed to initiate, implement, and maintain OSH programs. Programs oriented to reducing adverse psychosocial work exposures illustrate that point. A voluminous literature documents the consequences of occupational psychosocial stressors such as work overload, role conflict, job insecurity, unpredictability, ambiguity, responsibility for the work of others, and poor relationships with supervisors and co-workers (Hurrell and Murphy, 1992). Much research supports the benefits of psychosocial resources, such as social support and control or decision latitude over how one’s job is done (Baker et al., 1996; House, 1981; Israel et al., 1989; Karasek and Theorell, 1990). These psychosocial resources can directly affect employee well-being, and they can buffer employees from the negative effects of stress. Baker et al. (1996) give a comprehensive presentation of the stress process in occupational settings.
Strategies for reducing the harm caused by psychosocial stressors most often entail individual behavior change strategies or administrative change strategies. Those efforts focus either on developing personal strat-