Diane S. Rohlman, Ph.D. – Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health Director, Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest
Dr. Rohlman is a professor in the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health in the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health where she holds the Endowed Chair in Rural Health and Safety. She is Director of the University of Iowa’s Healthier Workforce Center as well as the Director of the Agricultural Safety and Health Training Program in the University of Iowa’s Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety. Her research focuses on the health effects of occupational and environmental exposures, with emphasis on the increased workplace risks faced by younger employees. Her studies have examined agricultural workers in the United States and around the world, including research on the effects of pesticide exposure on adolescents and their developing nervous system. She also has studied how lifestyle factors and mental health can impact safety on the job, as well as the effect of interventions directed toward supervisors and workplace policies. Dr. Rohlman received her masters and doctorate in experimental psychology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Construction is one of the most hazardous industries, with high rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries. Work organizational factors such as irregular employment, lengthy commute times, long work hours, and employer policies all impact health and safety. Construction workers also have higher rates of alcohol use, smoking, and engage in other unhealthy behaviors.
In addition, suicide rates in the construction industry are the second-highest among all occupations. Behavioral health problems can lead to increased absenteeism, high turnover, lost productivity, and workplace injuries. Characterized by a “tough guy” culture, stigma can prevent individuals from seeking treatment. A leadership commitment to health and safety, workplace policies, and supervisor training can promote worker well-being on the construction site.