Benchmarking of Reproductive Health Programs in R&D Organizations
Michael Glowatz, M.S., M.Ed., CIH, CSP - AT&T Bell Laboratories, Leonard Cupo, M.D., M.P.H. - The Honolulu Medical Group , Lisa Brooks, Ph.D. - AT&T Bell Laboratories (SSA Journal Volume 7 Number 3 - October 1993 pp. 15 - 22 )
Among the challenges facing occupational health and safety professionals today are the identification and control of reproductive and developmental hazards in the workplace. Awareness of these hazards is increasing in occupational health professionals, in employees, in the popular and technical media, and in the regulatory community. Accordingly, a comprehensive reproductive health program for the workplace must include information and training for both employees and for health professionals, and must incorporate and accommodate company policies and legal requirements. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the reproductive health policies, practices, and programs in place in research and development (R&D) facilities. The membership roster of the R&D Council of the National Safety Council was used to initiate written and telephone contacts with health and safety professionals responsible for workplace reproductive health. Information was requested from forty-nine companies and received from twenty-nine. The education component of reproductive and developmental heath in the workplace appears to be poorly addressed in the surveyed community in that most companies rely on generic training efforts. Reaction to the Johnson Controls decision was mixed: four companies expressed plans to develop a program/policy but two of three companies already having formal, written programs/policies planned to eliminate them. Based on this benchmarking and on the experiences of the semiconductor industry with glycol ethers, strategic planning in the R&D community will need to address the increased staffing and financial resources required to develop and implement comprehensive reproductive health and developmental health programs in the workplace.