237710 Development of peer safety liaisons operating among minority residential construction workers

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Elizabeth G. Marshall, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, UMDNJ School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Michele L. Ochsner, PhD , Occupational Training and Education Consortum (OTEC), Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Carmen Martino, MA , Occupational Training and Education Consortium (OTEC), Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Louis Kimmel , New Labor, New Brunswick, NJ
Marien Casillas Pabellon , New Labor, New Brunswick, NJ
Minority workers in residential construction face dangerous conditions but employers in this sector have limited knowledge, resources, and motivation to reduce risks. This project tests the ability of trained peer safety leaders (“safety liaisons”) to reduce hazardous conditions at construction worksites and provide informal training. Collaborating with a community labor organization (New Labor) in Newark, New Jersey, academic partners (Rutgers Occupational Training and Education Consortium/UMDNJ School of Public Health) developed and delivered a bilingual curriculum to train safety liaisons to recognize important hazards and communicate with supervisors and fellow workers. A safety audit form was developed in consultation with workers and experts and includes sections on personal protective equipment, ladders, electrical hazards, fall risks, and machine safety. Sixteen safety liaisons (9 Latino, 7 African-American) participated in the training and completed a survey of knowledge, work practices, and worksite safety climate at the beginning of the program. Liaisons with construction jobs completed safety audits to describe conditions at job sites. Audits and surveys confirm generally hazardous working conditions in residential construction (detail will be provided). The experience shows that it is feasible to train diverse workers to outreach to workers and supervisors and successfully complete safety audits. They also refer fellow workers for safety and health training and consult on hazardous conditions. Weak economic conditions in construction slowed implementation by reducing the capacity of peer liaisons to maintain employment and negotiate health and safety conditions.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Identify the role of safety liaisons in preventing injury in residential construction. Describe the process to develop safety audits used for targeting and evalution. Assess barriers to implementation of interventions among minority workers.

Keywords: Immigrants, Occupational Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have direct experience with community partnership projects and with using qualitative and survey research methods to reach a better understanding of the hazardous exposures, injury and illness experience, and safety culture context of immigrant and other minority workers. I have extensive training and experience in occupational health and safety in both academic and state-based settings.
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.