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Identifying occupational health and safety risks among environmental health officers in Australia and New Zealand through an online survey.

Medicine (Baltimore) 2023 March 25
To identify the occupational health and safety (OHS) risks among environmental health officers (EHOs) in Australia and New Zealand. The objectives were to profile and compare OHS experiences from different countries and regions to gain a regional perspective on OHS hazards that impact EHOs. An online hazard exposure survey was conducted among 339 EHOs (Australia: n = 301, 88.8%; New Zealand: n = 38, 11.2%). The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare 2 ordinal data groups, the Kruskal-Wallis H test was used for more than 2 ordinal groups, and the independent samples t test was used to compare the means of 2 independent groups where the dependent variables were normally distributed. Multiple regression techniques were used to analyze workplace incidents and age groups. A high degree of similarity in the types of workplace exposures and risk perceptions as well as concerns with organizational OHS management commitment were observed among EHOs from the 2 countries. Workplace violence and physical and psychosocial demands were the most commonly reported OHS hazards. Employer type, sex, and age group were significantly related to workplace exposure and OHS experience among EHOs in both countries. This study provides a profile of workplace exposure in the environmental health profession in the 2 countries and offers recommendations for the implementation of preventive action.

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