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What Occupational Health Needs Arise in Workplaces Following Disasters? A Joint Analysis of Eight Cases of Disaster in Japan

Tateishi, Seiichiro MD; Igarashi, Yu MD; Hara, Tatsuhiko MD; Ide, Hiroshi MD, PhD; Miyamoto, Toshiaki MD, PhD; Kobashi, Masaki MD; Inoue, Megumi MD; Matsuoka, Juri MD; Kawashima, Megumi MD; Okada, Takeo MD; Mori, Koji MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 8 - p 836–844
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000494
Original Articles

Objective: To identify occupational health needs arising after disasters.

Methods: Using semistructured interviews with expert informants, we jointly analyzed the needs arising in eight disaster cases that threatened the lives or health of workers in Japan.

Results: Various types of health issues occurred in a wide range of employees. In total, we identified 100 needs in six phases after disasters and classified them across nine categories of worker characteristics. The proportion of health needs on the list that were applicable in each case varied from 13% to 49%. More needs arose when the companies were responsible for the disaster and when employee lives were lost. We also assessed the list as fairly comprehensive.

Conclusions: The list developed in this study is expected to be effective for anticipating occupational health needs after disasters.

From the Occupational Health Training Center (Drs Tateishi, Igarashi, Hara, Ide, Miyamoto, Kobashi, Inoue, Matsuoka, Kawashima, Okada, and Mori), University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu; Nishinihon Occupational Health Service Center (Dr Hara), Kitakyushu, Fukuoka; Mitsui Chemicals, Inc., Iwakuni-Otake Works (Dr Ide), Iwakuni, Yamaguchi; Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Kimitsu Works (Dr Miyamoto), Kimitsu, Chiba; and Department of Occupational Health Practice and Management, (Dr Mori), University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.

Address correspondence to: Koji Mori, MD, PhD, Occupational Health Training Center, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan, 1–1 Iseigaoka Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu 807-8555, Japan (kmori@med.uoeh-u.ac.jp).

Authors Tateishi, Igarashi, Hara, Ide, Miyamoto, Kobashi, Inoue, Matsuoka, Kawashima, Okada, and Mori have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

This study was financially supported by a UOEH Research Grant for Promotion of Occupational Health. The authors deeply thank all interviewees for providing valuable information.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine