Qualitative Evidence in Occupational Health

  • Ellen MacEachen
  • Agnieszka Kosny
Part of the Handbooks in Health, Work, and Disability book series (SHHDW, volume 4)


Qualitative research in the field of occupational health and safety regularly reveals contested terrain where the interests of workers’ compensation insurers, employers, health care providers and workers can diverge, each informed by different social, political, and economic systems. In this chapter, qualitative occupational health evidence is organized in two broad sections: studies of injury risks and prevention and studies of return-to-work process and challenges once an injury has occurred. Throughout, we include evidence derived from studies with diverse analytic foci that range from macro state health and safety regulations to workplace level return-to-work processes to worker understandings of occupational health risk. Theoretical contributions that consider occupational health via the lens of gender and immigration are highlighted. The discussion considers social, economic, and political contexts of qualitative occupational health evidence and provides suggestions for promising areas of future research and intervention. These include research that considers state regulation mechanisms, occupational health in nonstandard work environments, the aging workforce, and research that critically examines normative assumptions and values in occupational health.


Safety Risk Policy Social context Injury Work 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Work and HealthTorontoCanada

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