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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: This book lays the foundation for a systematic approach to identifying barriers to high quality occupational safety and health research. Using the language of health economics, the editors painstakingly explain how occupational health and safety research could become economically relevant.
Purpose: In the concluding chapter, the editors synthesize across summaries, conclusions, challenges, and recommendations to lay out the path forward through the use of a reference case.
Audience: The audience likely will be a mix of practitioners and academics who study the process and implications of interventions in occupational safety and health.
Features: The book is a bit more of a prospectus for important steps of this nature rather than a review of carefully documented studies. The short answer is they don't presently exist. Early on, the editors ask, "What is a little more health and safety worth?" then go about fairly and accurately addressing the question. It is possible that this kind of exposition is old hat to the health economics crowd, but that is hardly the case for safety and health researchers or practitioners. There has likely never been a time that economic evaluation has been more relevant. It is incumbent upon us as readers and, more importantly, as practitioners, to get on board with what this book is discussing. In three parts, the authors and editors set the scene and put it in context (including conceptualization, critical reviews, lessons from health technology), identify specific topics (including study designs, types of analysis and costs), and eventually reach conclusions.
Assessment: For most readers, the critical dimension is sufficient knowledge of, "What a little more health and safety might be worth." These authors and editors can help the rest of us get there! The way forward is limited, given an absence of this type of knowledge. This book develops an important perspective and is must reading.