OHWC Projects

The research projects at the heart of the OHWC are:

  • Multilevel Intervention in Sedentary Occupations (Brad Wipfli &d Steven Shea, MPIs): Exposure to sedentary work is an occupational hazard with significant health and safety consequences, including increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, early mortality, musculoskeletal pain, injuries, and detrimental changes in physiological functioning. As the number of sedentary jobs in the US continues to grow, effective interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in the workplace are increasingly important. This project will examine the effectiveness of varying doses of a Total Worker Health intervention, aimed at maximizing the utilization of health and safety resources, for reducing sedentary behavior and prolonged sitting among call center employees, who are among the most sedentary workers in the US.
  • Team Truck Driver Project (Ryan Olson &Peter W. Johnson, MPIs): Sleep deficiency is a crosscutting factor for Total Worker Health that not only impacts workplace safety, but also generates excess risk for obesity, chronic disease, and early mortality. This is particularly true in long-haul trucking where drivers face very challenging sleeping conditions. Our project will focus on truck driver teams (pairs), where one driver sleeps in a moving vehicle while the other partner drives. Team drivers experience twice as many awakenings as solo drivers. We will evaluate engineering and behavioral interventions to improve sleep, reduce fatigue, and impact Total Worker Health. An enhanced cab intervention will alter whole body vibrations during driving and sleep periods, and includes a therapeutic mattress system and an active suspension seat. The enhanced cab will be evaluated alone and in combination with a behavioral sleep intervention adapted from our effective SHIFT (Safety &Health Involvement For Truckers) program. The interventions prioritize hazard reduction according to the hierarchy of controls, and will be evaluated with a randomized controlled design.

The past research projects from the 2011-2016 grant cycle are:

  • Creating health and safety “Communities of Practice” for Home Care workers (Ryan Olson, PI)
    Using a peer-led curriculum to organize home care workers into neighborhood-based WorkLife teams that provide education and social support for improving lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise) and safety behaviors.
  • Safety & Health Improvement Program (Leslie Hammer and Donald Truxillo, PIs)
    Training supervisors to use a team-based approach to support balance in employee’s work-family demands thus reducing stress and improving safety in City of Portland construction workers.
  • Total Worker Health in Young Workers (Diane S. Rohlman and Kent Anger, PIs)
    NIOSH developed training, Youth at Work, to create an online interactive training curriculum that addresses both health promotion and health protection, and develop a dissemination plan capitalizing on social media specifically designed to interest and be worthwhile to young workers.
  • Supervisor training to promote health/safety in construction (Latino+non-Latino) (Kent Anger PI)
    Training supervisor skills supported by behavior tracking technology in Latino and non-Latino supervisors in construction to motivate their employees to adopt and safer work practices and make healthier lifestyle choices (based on an employee training program on healthy lifestyles).

Click here for OHWC Pilot Projects