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FIOH – Jos Verbeek, jos.verbeek@ttl.fi


Collaborative partners:
University Dresden (Germany), University Bologna (Italy)

Target groups:
Researchers, stakeholders and professionals in OSH.

former PEROSH Coordinator – Daniela Treutlein



The main aim of the OSH Evidence working group was to promote the use of evidence through high quality systematic reviews. So the aim was to collect systematic reviews on occupational health topics and to exchange experiences on any aspect of systematic reviews.

Further objectives were:

  • To facilitate knowledge transfer from scientific research into policy making by making systematic reviews available from many different sources and presenting them in a systematic way
  • To coordinate the conducting of systematic reviews in the field of occupational health and safety to prevent duplication of work
  • To bring together expertise in this area to improve the quality and the usability of systematic reviews


The working group developed a methodology, built up a database on systematic reviews on OSH topics, made workshops and gave presentations on international conferences.

After the Perosh project OSH Evidence ended in 2015, the following outputs were summarized in order to make the work of the OSH Evidence group available for everybody. We hope that these outputs are helpful for OSH professionals for the future.

Any supplements are welcome! annette.nold@dguv.de

Project summary Download full description of the project

Presentations The project members presented their work on several conferences

Report Priority setting for future OSH research



    The OSH Evidence working group developed a method paper for recommendations on:
    • Systematic literature searches for OSH topics (relevant databases and search strategies)
    • Quality criteria for quality assessment of systematic reviews

    There are other institutions working on recommendations on literature searches in general or specific for databases, e.g.

    Checklist: What makes a good literature search?

    PubMed: Online Training

    Embase: Searching with Embase

    In order to assess the quality of the systematic reviews selected from literature searches, a grading system was developed. The OSH Evidence working group took standard checklists used in evidence based medicine and adapted them for usage for systematic reviews in OSH.
    The checklists used for OSH Evidence are:

    The OSH Evidence working group developed a database for easy access to systematic reviews on topics in occupational safety and health. The topics were defined as research questions ( e.g. „Do occupational risks lead to the carpal tunnel syndrome?“) and the referring systematic reviews were searched and graded according to the quality assessment in the method paper.
    Systematic reviews on 27 topics were collected and are presented in the database. Details on literature searches and quality assessment for each topic are documented in the referring „Search documentation form“.
    In spite of the database is not maintained anymore, the list of systematic reviews and the referring documents can be helpful for update literature searches.
    There are many literature databases relevant for occupational safety and health topics. The OSH Evidence working group summarized the databases, ranking by relevance. Those databases can be helpful for searching literature on primary studies and reviews.

    Database: MEDLINE
    Producer: National Library of Medicine, U.S.
    Fees: No
    Comments: Largest medical literature database worldwide, international journals, medical and related topics, comprehensive thesaurus MESH (Medical Subject Headings), smart retrieval

    Database: EMBASE, Different providers, e.g. STN
    Producer: Elsevier B. V.
    Fees: Yes
    Comments: Medical and health related topics, international journals with European focus, thesaurus

    Database: Cochrane Work
    Producer: FIOH, Finland
    Fees: No
    Comments: Reviews on interventions in prevention and treatment of occupational or work-related diseases, injuries and disorders; part of the Cochrane Library.

    Database: NIOSHTIC 2
    Producer: NIOSH, U.S.
    Fees: No
    Comments: bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and other communication products supported in whole or in part by NIOSH

    Database: HSELINE, different providers
    Producer: HSE, U.K.
    Fees: Yes
    Comments: bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications

    Database: Cochrane Library
    Producer: Cochrane Collaboration
    Fees: No
    Comments: Systematic reviews on interventions in medicine and health care, evidence based medicine. Title and abstracts for free, full text is subject to fees

    Database: CRD databases: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) and NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED)
    Producer: University of York, Center for Reviews and Dissemination
    Fees: No
    Comments: Medical reviews, updates ended March 2015

    Database: CINAHL
    Producer: EBSCO Publishing
    Fees: No
    Comments: nursing and allied health literature, 4 databases

    Database: CISDOC
    Producer: ILO
    Fees: No
    Comments: international, multilingual database provides references to all aspects of health and safety with an emphasis on training and policy documents from various countries

    Database: Systematic reviews in OSH
    Producer: Institute of Work and Health, Canada
    Fees: No
    Comments: Reviews mainly about MSD, Cochrane Back Review Group at the IWH

    Database: TOXNET databases
    Producer: National Library of Medicine, U.S.
    Fees: No
    Comments: A cluster of databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, and related areas

    Database: EMF-PORTAL
    Producer: University Aachen, Germany
    Scientific research data on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) in English and German (literature, measurement, technology, effects, limit values, glossary, links etc.).

    Database: Databases of the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON)
    Comments: NanoData, a knowledge base on nano science and technology and the eNanoMapper that helps you find safety information about nanomaterials.

    Database: PsychINFO, different providers
    Producer: American Psychological Association
    Fees: Yes
    Comments: International literature on psychology and related fields

    Database: PSYNDEX, provider DIMDI
    Producer: ZPID, Germany
    Fees: Yes
    Comments: English and German literature on psychology topics

    Database: Several databases in the SAFETY cluster, provider: STN
    Producer: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts
    Fees: Yes
    Comments: Bibliographic database with mainly safety topics

    Database: Several databases, provider: WTi Frankfurt
    Producer: wti, Germany
    Fees: Yes
    Comments: Bibliographic databases on technology and management

    Database: BAUA 
Literature, use WebOPAC
    Producer: BAuA, Germany
    Fees: No
    Comments: German and international literature on occupational safety and health

    Database: IFA publications
    Producer: IFA, Germany
    Fees: No
    Comments: Publications of the IFA institute

    Database: ScienceDirect
    Fees: No
    Comments: Online search

    Database: Google Scholar
    Fees: No
    Comments: Online search

    Database: NoRa
    Fees: No
    Comments: Search tool for standards in OSH

    Dixon-Woods M, Agarwal S, Jones D, Young B, Sutton A. Synthesising qualitative and quantitative evidence: a review of possible methods. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2005 Jan;10(1):45-53. PubMed PMID: 15667704.

    Harbour R, Lowe G, Twaddle S. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network: the first 15 years (1993-2008). J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2011 Jun;41(2):163-8. PubMed PMID: 21677923.

    Hutton B et al.: The PRISMA extension statement for reporting of systematic reviews incorporating network meta-analyses of health care interventions: checklist and explanations. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Jun 2;162(11):777-84. PubMed PMID: 26030634

    Liberati et al.: The PRISMA Statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration. PLoS Med 2005, 6(7): e1000100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100

    Mattioli et al.: Search strings for study of putative occupational determinants of disease. Occup Environ Med 2010 July; 67(7): 436–443 doi:10.1136/oem.2008.044727

    Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG; PRISMA Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. Int J Surg. 2010;8(5):336-41. PubMed PMID: 20171303.

    Schaafsma F. et al.: Developing search strategies in Medline on the occupational origin of diseases. Am J. Ind. Med. 2006; 49:127-137. PubMed PMID: 16362948

    Schonstein E, Verbeek JH. Occupational health systematic reviews: An overview.
    Work. 2006;26(3):255-8. PubMed PMID: 16720965.

    Shea BJ et al.: AMSTAR is a reliable and valid measurement tool to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews. J Clin Epidemiol. 2009, 62(10):1013-1020. PubMed PMID: 19230606

    Verbeek J et al.: Synthesizing study results in a systematic review. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2012 May;38(3):282-90. PubMed PMID: 22015561.

    Verbeek J. The occupational health field in the cochrane collaboration. Ind Health. 2007 Jan;45(1):8-12. PubMed PMID: 17284867.

    Verbeek J et al.: A search strategy for occupational health intervention studies. Occup Environment Med 2005; 62: 682-687. PubMed PMID: 16169913

    Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB; Hedges Team: EMBASE search strategies achieved high sensitivity and specificity for retrieving methodologically sound systematic reviews. J Clin Epidemiol. 2007 Jan;60(1):29-33. PubMed PMID: 17161751

    Van den Heuvel S, Verbeek J, Nold A, Fishta A, Euler U, Mattioli S: Priority setting for future European OSH research. From research challenge to research questions.
    Perosh OSH Evidence working group 2014

    AMSTAR: A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews

    PRISMA: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

    SIGN: Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network.

    The Cochrane Collaboration: Reporting Guidelines


    Cochrane Work Review Group

    Institute for Work & Health (Canada)

    University of York, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

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