BACKGROUND: This study aims to promote occupational health in the informal sector in Thailand by using a participatory approach. The success of the intervention is based on an evaluation of the informal sector workers' a) knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in occupational health and safety, b) work practice improvement, and c) working condition improvement. METHODS: This study applies the Participatory Action Research (PAR) method. The participants of the study consisted of four local occupations in different regions of Thailand, including a ceramic making group in the North, a plastic weaving group in the Central region, a blanket making group in the Northeast, and a pandanus weaving group in the South. Data was collected using both qualitative and quantitative methods through questionnaires, industrial hygiene instruments, and group discussions. RESULTS: The results showed that the working conditions of the informal sector were improved to meet necessary standards after completing the participatory process. Also, the post-test average scores on 1) the occupational health and safety knowledge, attitudes and behaviors measures and 2) the work practice improvement measures were significantly higher than the pre-test average scores (p=sig). CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate that the participatory approach is an effective tool to use when promoting the health safety of the informal sector and when encouraging the workers to voluntarily improve the quality of their own lives.
J Inj Violence Res. 2010 Jun; 2(2): 111-120. doi:10.5249/jivr.v2i2.36
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