176210 Validation of self-reported occupational exposures in meatpacking workers

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lina Lander, ScD , Department of Epidemiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Gary S. Sorock, PhD , Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Terry L. Stentz, PhD , College of Engineering, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Ellen A. Eisen, ScD , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Murray A. Mittleman, DrPH , Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Russ Hauser, ScD , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Melissa J. Perry, ScD , Environmental and Occupational Health, The Geororge Washington University, Washington DC, DC
Objective: The ability of workers to accurately recall exposures that occur on the day of their injury is considered a potential limitation of case-crossover studies. This study assessed validity of occupational exposures reported by uninjured workers at a Midwestern meatpacking plant.

Methods: 136 workers were observed while working for 60 minutes and subsequently interviewed (within 8 days) about exposures during the observation period. Self-reported exposures were cross-tabulated with observation records using kappas to assess the level of agreement between self-reports and direct observations for binary exposures and intraclass correlation coefficients for continuous exposures.

Results: Excellent agreement was found between observed and reported work location (κ=0.97, 95% CI: 0.92-1.0), task (κ=0.83, 95% CI: 0.76-0.91), and tools (κ=0.88, 95% CI: 0.81-0.95). Personal protective equipment varied by work type and location and agreement between observed and reported usage varied from excellent to poor for various items. Excellent agreement was found for tool sharpening (κ=0.89, 95% CI: 0.82-0.97); good agreement for occurrence of break during the observation period (κ=0.60, 95% CI: 0.45-0.74); and poor agreement for the equipment malfunction, line stoppages, being tired, unusual task, unusual work method, being distracted, rushing, slipping, or falling.

Conclusions: Since self-reported exposures are utilized in many occupational injury studies, future exposure validity assessment studies should continue to improve methodology. Valid exposures will allow researchers to better understand injury etiology and ultimately prevent injuries from occurring.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify gaps in the case-crossover design and validation assessment methodology. 2. Describe validation study methodology in one meatpacking plant. 3. Discuss associations between observed and reported occupational exposures and their implications to the validity of self-reported occupational exposures.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Exposure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the study, collected and analyzed data, and wrote the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.