Occupational Reproductive Health Resources

 

For consultation on non-acute environmental or occupational exposure concerns in children, pregnant women, or adults with reproductive health concerns:  

Call us at 1-877-KID-CHEM  or 1-877-543-2436 or contact us at pehsu@uw.edu

Calls are answered by UW MedCon and forwarded to NW PEHSU. A Northwest PEHSU team member will respond usually within 1 to 4 business days, depending on the number and nature of calls received.

For immediate assistance with concerns about suspected exposure or acute poisoning, contact the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

 

Upcoming virtual webinar:

Work and Reproductive Health: Awareness and Prevention, November 3, 2021, 12:00-1:00PM PT

Debra Cherry, MD, MS, (Associate Professor, Medicine - General Internal Medicine, Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington) will offer training to primary care and reproductive health care providers on the scope and nature of occupational reproductive health concerns. Participants will receive training and tools for providing services and counseling to workers of all genders concerned about their reproductive health.

Registration for this lecture is complimentary!

To register, visit osha.washington.edu or contact the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Continuing Education Programs at ce@uw.edu or 206-685-3089.

Continuing education for the activity has been approved.

More information here.

 

Resources

Tools for Employers and Workers

Protecting Workers from Occupational Reproductive Hazards: A guide for Employers and Staffing Agencies

Reproductive Hazards in the Workplace: A Factsheet for Workers

Reproductive Hazards in the Workplace: A Factsheet for Healthcare Workers

Reproductive Hazards in the Workplace: A Factsheet for Warehouse Workers

Reproductive Hazard Identification Checklist

Occupational Reproductive Health Databases, Telephone Services, and other Resources

 

Occupational Reproductive Health Courses

Work and Reproductive Health: Awareness and Prevention

Work and Reproductive Health in the Healthcare Industry

 

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Accommodation and Complaint Resources

Please Don’t Fire My Patient: How to Support Your Pregnant Patients’ Ability to Earn an Income and Stay Healthy on the Job (webinar from Center for WorkLife Law, University of California Hastings College of Law)

Pregnant @ Work (Center for WorkLife Law, University of California Hastings College of Law)

Washington State Office of Attorney General, Civil Rights Division (Contact: pregnancy@atg.wa.gov or 833-660-4877, toll free)

 

 

Occupational Reproductive Health Project Summary

To improve the reproductive health of Washington workers we will: 1) develop tools to identify and mitigate workplace reproductive hazards for temp staffing agencies and other employers; 2) provide one-on-one telephonic medical consultation services for concerned Washington workers and/or their clinicians, employers, safety professionals, and other health professionals on specific workplace reproductive hazards; and 3) increase capacity of primary care and other health professionals on occupational reproductive health.

 

Occupational Reproductive Health Project Description

Male and female workers interested in family formation often receive insufficient or no training on the chemical, biological, and physical agents in the workplace that are linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and other adverse developmental outcomes. Since some women do not realize they are pregnant for months, they may continue to work with reproductive hazards without safeguards. Authoritative information and best practice resources for employers on occupational reproductive hazards are scarce. Employers and workplace safety and health professionals under-appreciate the importance of including occupational reproductive health in hazard communication and accident prevention programs, as well as during on-boarding training. The inadequacy of current knowledge and assessment of reproductive health is especially problematic for sectors that have shifted to a temporary staffing workforce, especially when the temporary work is hazardous.

Temporary and other workers may be reluctant to raise their reproductive health concerns with their employers or their on-site supervisors, which is especially challenging for temporary workers who may be unexpectedly moved to different work at a job site. Temporary and other workers may turn to the obstetricians or primary care providers for advice, but these clinicians receive little to no training in occupational reproductive health in medical school. Occupational medicine and health and safety professionals have limited access to occupational reproductive health training.

Reproductive hazards are defined as agents that interfere with a couple’s ability to have healthy children, recognizing that some adverse reproductive health outcomes are delayed until childhood or adulthood. Exposure to chemical (lead, pesticides, antineoplastic drugs), physical (ionizing radiation, handling heavy items, noise), and infectious agents are associated with impaired reproductive health. Stained-glass window artists, farmers, health care professionals, warehouse workers, veterinarians and other occupationally exposed employees are at risk. Currently available hazard recognition and best practice tools, workplace policies, other resources and training on occupational reproductive health are limited. The significant increase in the use of temporary staffing agencies requires new approaches and multidisciplinary teams to address these issues.

  • Employers lack knowledge of workplace reproductive hazards and do not have the tools or best practice guidelines to safeguard the reproductive health of their employees. Safety data sheets are difficult to interpret and employers lack self-confidence when addressing reproductive health issues. A main tool for Washington employers, workers, clinicians and health and safety professionals is outdated. There are limited tools and guidance documents for employers to conduct a risk evaluation to identify and assess reproductive workplace hazards, and to determine strategies to mitigate impact on employees.
  • Workers exposed to reproductive hazards lack access to reproductive health experts. Reproductive hazards are rarely covered in worksite hazard communication and accident prevention programs, and concerned temporary or other workers may be reluctant to raise this topic with their employers. Pregnant or lactating workers, or workers contemplating family formation, may turn to primary care providers for assistance, but since workplace reproductive hazards are rarely included in medical education and training, these professionals are ill-equipped to address these concerns.

Occupational medicine physicians and nurses receive limited formal reproductive health training, and may not have the multidisciplinary team often needed to assess workers’ exposures to occupational reproductive and developmental hazards.

  • Obstetricians and primary care providers, occupational medicine physicians and nurses, and safety and health specialists lack occupational reproductive health knowledge and access to reproductive health experts when addressing specific occupational reproductive health concerns. Primary care providers receive limited to no training in occupational and environmental reproductive health and lack tools for communicating reproductive health risks to patients.
  • Primary care providers, obstetricians, occupational medicine physicians and nurses, safety and health specialists, and employers lack access to training on occupational reproductive health.

 

Univeristy of Washington SHIP Team

Nancy Beaudet MS, CIH, PEHSU Co-Director

Debra Cherry, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Director, UW Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, UW Medicine

Kate Durand, MHS, CIH, CSPCE, Outreach Manager, Northwest Center for Occupational Health & Safety

Elaine Faustman, PhD,  Professor, DEOHS

Joyce Matson, Consultant/Owner, Peoplesafe

Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD, MPH, Professor,  UW Department of Pediatrics/Seattle Children’s Research Institute; Attending Pediatrician, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit; Medical Director, University of Washington Newborn Nursery

Nancy Simcox, MS Assistant Teaching Professor and Director, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) Continuing Education Programs

Sarah Wolz, MS, Continuing Education Specialist, DEOHS, Continuing Education Programs, University of Washington

 

Advisory Committees

SHIP External Advisors

Michael Foley, Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries

Sybill Hyppolite, Legislative Director, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Kari Misterek, Safety and Human Resources Manager, LaborWorks, ASA Safety Committee

Carissa Rocheleau, PhD, Epidemiologist, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

John Swartos, Regional Safety Manager, Aerotek, ASA Safety Committee

 

Medical Advisory Committee Members

Susan Buchanan, MD, MPH, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

Laura Sienas, MD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics, University of Washington, Seattle

Blair Wylie, MD MPH Director, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston

 

*Because email is not secure, please be aware of associated risks of email transmission. If you are communicating with a UW Medicine Provider or Researcher via email, your acceptance of the risk and agreement to the conditions for email communications is implied. (See http://www.uwmedicine.org/Global/Compliance/EmailRisk.htm)

 

This Work and Reproductive Health project is funded by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) grant program.