226571 Outcomes of improved fall prevention training for apprentice carpenters

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Brad Evanoff, MD, MPH , Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Vicki Kaskutas, MHS, OTR/L , School of Medicine, Occupational Therapy Program, Washington University, St Louis, MO
Ann Marie Dale, OTR/L, PhD , Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
John Gaal, D Ed , St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, St. Louis, MO
Mark Fuchs, BA , St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, St. Louis, MO
Hester J. Lipscomb, PhD , Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
Objective: We performed a comprehensive needs assessment of fall prevention training in a union carpenters' apprenticeship training program to identify gaps in apprentices' preparation to work at heights. Following revision of the fall prevention curriculum, we measured changes in knowledge, beliefs, and fall prevention behaviors.

Background: Falls from heights are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among construction workers, especially inexperienced workers and those performing residential construction.

Methods: Questionnaires (n=1,025), focus groups, and audits at 197 worksites measured fall experience, knowledge, risk perceptions, and residential worksite behaviors to determine gaps in the apprenticeship fall prevention training. Based on these data, a team of carpenter instructors and researchers revised the training curriculum to address gaps in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, and incorporated training methods preferred by this population.

Results: Post-intervention questionnaires (n=950) and worksite audits (n=207) demonstrated significant improvements in measures of fall prevention, including knowledge of OSHA standards, perceptions of fall risks, and fall safety compliance (increased from 60% to 75% overall compliance). Improvements across all domains of home construction occurred, including floor and wall openings, truss setting, and ladder climbing. Self-reported falls from heights decreased from 16% to 13%.

Conclusions and Applications: Fall prevention knowledge and behaviors improved with training customized to meet apprentices' learning needs and preferences. In order to decrease falls, workers must be enabled to follow through with safe work practices at their worksites. Our intervention was delivered through a union apprenticeship program; other delivery methods could be used to reach non-union workers.

Learning Objectives:
Describe major fall hazards in residential construction work Describe the importance of safety attitudes and beliefs in determining safety behaviors Describe changes in training that lead to improved safety behaviors

Keywords: Construction Injuries, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher in workplace health and safety. I currently oversee projects on fall prevention and environmental health and safety. I was the PI on the NIOSH grant that funded this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.