If the occupational health (OH) information provided to workers is to be effective it must be responsive to the needs of the worker. To date little is known about how often workers access such information or their preferences on how to obtain such information, and their level of trust in the information accessed. Our aim is to identify these needs and preferences in the Spanish working population, and to compare them with the results observed in other countries.Methods
2268 workers attending for routine screening during a 3 month period in 2014 at the OH services in NHS hospitals and mutual societies in Galicia (Spain), were invited to complete a questionnaire. All workers had been provided with the legally-required OH information. The questionnaire was developed using French workers1 and subsequently modified and validated in the Spanish context.Results
1559 (69%) workers completed the questionnaire. Of these 1247 (80%) stated a need for more information on occupational hazards but only 686 (44% actually sought such information. For those seeking information, the internet was most frequently used (85%) despite low confidence in the quality of the information (21%). For personal advice workers preferred the family doctor (72%) and less frequently the occupational physician (19%) and information from the family doctor was considered more reliable (56% vs 43%). These observations are similar to those made in French and Dutch workers.Discussion
Spanish workers expressed a substantial need for OH information yet many did not obtain this information. They often accessed resources they considered as less reliable such as the internet or had consulted with professionals lacking specialist expertise in OH. This study adds the Spanish perspective to that already measured in France and the NL and shows similar findings, possibly pointing towards the need for a European-wide strategy to tackle this problem.