About the SHARP Program

Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) — Research for Safe Work

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The SHARP program is dedicated to promoting healthy work environments and preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. Since 1990, SHARP has advanced workplace health and safety by conducting numerous research, monitoring and demonstration projects.

SHARP addresses complex occupational health and safety concerns by initiating in-house research projects and by responding to requests from employers, workers, business associations, industry groups, labor, health care professionals and Labor & Industries staff. SHARP works with the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) Advisory Committee and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to develop occupational health research priorities.

SHARP's Web resources

Helping business and labor address health and safety concerns

SHARP is unique in the ability to work with business and labor to address emerging health and safety concerns in Washington State workplaces. SHARP is the primary research program in Washington State that receives Federal funding to track occupational illnesses and injuries.

SHARP is also unique in the ability to conduct long-term, industry-wide studies to determine the relationships between workplace exposures and the occurrence of injuries and illnesses. SHARP is committed to using research to improve worker health and safety by strategic targeting of workplace interventions in partnership with business and labor.

SHARP's researchers are recognized as leaders in their fields. They offer expertise in economics, epidemiology, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational medicine and nursing, safety, toxicology and computer systems. These researchers utilize sound scientific methods within the framework of occupational health research to accomplish the following goals:

  • Develop and analyze data for injury and illness prevention
    SHARP develops systems of data collection and analysis to track occupational hazards, injuries, and illnesses. These systems are used to identify emerging problems and evaluate the effectiveness of prevention activities.
  • Test hypotheses and develop methods for evaluating workplace exposure and health
    SHARP designs and conducts field research in Washington workplaces. Using scientific methods, SHARP addresses specific questions concerning the causes of occupational injuries and illnesses, and ways to prevent them. SHARP develops and tests new methods to identify and measure workplace hazards, illnesses, and injuries.
  • Provide information and promote technology transfer
    SHARP provides technical assistance and disseminates scientific information and knowledge of new technology to business, labor and health and safety professionals.
  • Serve as a scientific resource for L&I
    SHARP fosters the best use of current scientific knowledge in agency operations.
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of intervention strategies aimed at reducing workplace injuries and illnesses

Potential research projects undergo review by a project selection committee within SHARP. The review focuses on the relevance of a project according to SHARP's MUSTCURE (8 KB PDF) criteria. Additional factors such as the potential for federal funding, stakeholder support and resource allocation are considered in selecting a project for study.

SHARP's high-quality research is frequently cited in the scientific literature. SHARP participates locally, nationally and internationally by delivering seminars, presenting research activities and results, providing independent scientific review of issues and publishing information.

SHARP's research is independent and confidential, although summary information (which does not identify employers or participants) is shared with workers and employers across Washington State. SHARP has produced numerous publications, many of which are available online.

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