ABSTRACT Objective: This study describes workplace centered activities performed by occupational health professionals, as well as difficulties linked to workplace centered activities, cooperation with client workplaces, and participation both in risk assessment and in the development of working environment.
Design: The design is a cross-sectional prevalence study.
Sample: The questionnaires were sent to 250 occupational health professionals, of whom 176 (70%) returned the completed forms and of whom 99% were nurses.
Measurements: Their activities, difficulties, cooperation, and participation in risk assessment and development of safe and healthy working conditions.
Analytic strategy: The data were analyzed by using frequencies, means, 1-way ANOVA, and the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results: Workplace focused activity hours were mainly spent on risk assessment and counseling. One workplace visit took approximately 4 hr. The greatest difficulties were encountered with participation in development projects and in monitoring the effectiveness of improvement activities, especially in health care centers. Occupational health nurses cooperated with client enterprises and participated in risk assessment more often than the other occupational health professionals. Also workplace representatives participated actively in risk assessment. The most difficult modules were considered to be the risk assessment of chemicals, biological factors, and perceived stress, this being especially so in health care centers.
Conclusions: It is essential that occupational health professionals visit more often in their client enterprises and improve their skills in preventing harms caused by chemical and biological factors, and perceived stress.