INTRODUCTION: Despite a growing awareness of the prevalence of such stigma, there is little research that focuses on the sources, nature and consequences of stigma workers with occupational diseases (OD), which directly arises from risks in the workplace. The present study aims to advance knowledge related to stigma towards workers with OD, specifically to explain the nature and processes stigma and their effects on workers.
METHODS: This study was qualitative research. The workers with OD were selected to represent the most common diagnoses, then invited for an interview. Thirteen in-depth individual interviews were recorded, transcribed and evaluated using content analysis. The stigmatization was analyzed in two axes as its internal and external features.
RESULTS: A large diversity in the stigmatizing actions and attitudes toward workers with the occupational disease were identified in this study. It was observed that 12 (92.3%) participants had experienced internal and external stigmatization in work-life.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: In general, variables, such as the continuation of work, type of occupational disease, presence of complaints and drug use due to illness, were revealed as factors determining the severity of stigma. If occupational health professionals are aware of the stigmatization due to occupational diseases, they may have an effective role in the workplace.