249478 Promises, promises: Examining worker resolutions for health and safety change

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bridget E. McGuiness, CET , The New England Consortium, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, Lowell, MA
Thomas Estabrook, Ph D , The New England Consortium, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, Lowell, MA
Effective health and safety training supports workers in developing their analytical and problem-solving skills. Small group activities-essential components of popular education-may be designed to examine workers' experiences, stimulate analysis of their work environment and help workers identify an “aha” moment whereby they feel empowered in their pursuit of a safe and healthy workplace. The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of worker resolutions in promoting health and safety change in the workplace.

The small group activity referenced for this presentation was incorporated into several one-day health and safety trainings. It entails a revisiting of OSHA's General Duty Clause and is facilitated during the second half of class after students have detailed an incident in their work place. In the “Worker Resolution Activity” EACH student offers action steps for their specific work environment in response to the following questions: What can you do to work safely? What can you do to help your co-workers work safely? What do you need at work to help you work safely?

In the months following the activity, workers were surveyed regarding any actions taken, changes made, successes, or challenges experienced. Preliminary responses indicate that many workers have made changes and are confident that they can and will continue to take action for themselves and their co-workers.

It is clear that effective health and safety training helps workers in the struggle for a safe workplace. Getting a commitment from them to take action is a step often forgotten in training.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify two impediments to workers attaining a safe and healthy workplace. 2) Define the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) General Duty Clause. 3) Explain how knowledge of the General Duty Clause may be used by workers to advocate for a safe and healthy workplace.

Keywords: Workplace Safety, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health and safety trainer in a worker education training program and am the lead in the training of workers involved in completing the activities upon which this presentation is based. I am also involved in data collection and processing.
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.